Many parents find their teenage daughters exposed to some of the worst the world has to offer as technological progress makes it more accessible through pocket-sized devices. This has caused a sharp uptick in troubling behavior from teenage girls, from self-harm to high-anxiety, even to anger management struggles.
To help these troubled teen girls and their struggling parents, a form of therapy which has old world values at its roots has been rising in popularity – equine therapy.
What Is Equine Therapy
Equine therapy for troubled teen girls takes place on a ranch. The troubled girls are enrolled in an away-from-home program where they will leave behind some of the stressful trappings of the 21st century and join in on the bustling life of a working ranch. After the girls have a chance to settle, they meet their equine therapy partner.
Many ranches allow the troubled teen girls to choose the horse they would like to work with during their therapeutic sessions. That way, the girls feel a sense of ownership over their own therapeutic process as well as a deeper bond with the horse, especially as they learn to care for the horse.
A few examples of ranches which have equine therapy are below. We have not placed them in any particular order of importance.
How Horses Assist With Troubled Teen Girl Therapy
Equine-assisted therapy is effective due to the emotional bonding between horse and rider. Horses have high emotional sensitivities and will react to how their rider is feeling. With a troubled teen girl, the horse can act as an external meter of her emotional state.
One example of this would be a troubled girl who is dealing with depression and social anxiety. The girl’s partnered horse will easily pick up on these emotions, potentially making the horse both skittish and disinclined to do anything the rider instructs. Only by calming herself can the troubled teen girl have the horse respond it should. This helps pair together the meditative and personal development help the troubled teen girl will be receiving outside of her equine therapy sessions.
Also, the horse’s care cannot wait until the girl is feeling less depressed. So, instead of being able to wallow in unhappiness, which only builds on the problem, the troubled teen girl will need to care for the horse as it will not understand being left to fend for itself. Once cared for, the girl can both receiving the positive endorphins associated with physical activity but also strengthen the bond between herself and her horse partner.
Kinds Of Troubled Teen Girls Who Benefit From Equine Therapy
Not all troubled teen girls will fit into equine therapy. Some may be due to allergies or prior negative experiences with horses. But if your struggling teenage daughter struggles with the below issues, then you may want to consider equine therapy.
- Low self-esteem
- Anger management
- Depression/Suicidal ideation
- Eating disorders
- Family relationship deterioration
- Mood disorders
- Substance abuse/Addictive behaviors
- Poor academic performance
- Motivation loss
Depending on your troubled child’s particular needs, they will have an individualized care plan created for them, which will determine how to best utilize the horse as part of the therapeutic, healing process.
Basic Activities For Teen Girls In Equine-Assisted Therapy
Every ranch runs their equine-assisted therapy program slightly differently than the others, with some offering a greater emphasis on equine therapy and other offering it as an optional supplement. No matter what type you decide on for your daughter, there are some general activities which should be expected on any certified therapeutic program.
- Equine care – Much of the basic bonding between a troubled teen girl and her horse will be through the care she gives. Not only will she reap the physical benefits of caring for her horse but her equine partner will learn to trust her sooner as the girl takes care of the horse’s needs.
- Equine therapy – Many teen girls, troubled or otherwise, feel better able to open up to animals rather than people. As troubled girls train and ride their equine therapy partners, they can take the time to open up, either verbally or through nonverbal cues.
- Talk therapy – While the horse companion can be an excellent way to reach a closed-off troubled girl, the more traditional talk therapy will also be incorporated at troubled teen girl ranches. This can pair well with the equine therapy and allow the progress being made by the troubled teen girl to be assessed.
- Academic involvement – Unlike in the olden days where ranch work would supersede academics, a quality troubled teen therapeutic ranch program will have a robust academic component. Teen girls will be able to repair their grades and catch back up with peers while attending classes in a certified educational program.
Finding The Right Equine Therapy Program For Your Daughter
There are a large number of troubled teen girl resources, both equine therapy and otherwise. We understand that it can be difficult for parents to sort between all these options, especially if they have never had to before.
Before you commit to a pricey troubled teen therapy program for your troubled daughter, contact us. We have decades of experience in helping parents navigate their options and we provide all our help to parents completely for free.