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Self Defeating Patterns Can Change Through Equine Therapy

By February 24, 2015September 3rd, 2015Therapy

horsemuzzle_590What do you do when your thoughts spiral downward and your inner dialogue says mean things to you? For some the spiral can lead to dark recesses of the mind until one believes they are not deserving of love, appreciation, or even life.

In her article, ‘How Horses Can Help Change Our Self-Perception,’ Psychologist, Jane Karol, describes her Equine Therapy interaction with a young man suffering from deep depression (Feb. 18, 2015, Dressage). Through the support of his 2000 lb. therapist, and Karol, this young man was able to make the connection between his self defeating thoughts and his ineffective communication with the horse. Karol explains that, while attempting to ride the horse, the young man could not get the horse to move when he communicated his directions. Instead the horse was reacting to the sound of the young mans voice, which was unconvincing. This interaction reenforce the young mans perception that he was a failure and would never get the horse to do what he wanted. Karol used this opportunity to teach the young man how to get the horse to react in a positive way, and how to use his voice in a way that would be more forthright and convincing to the horse. ‘The more [the young man] was able to speak clearly the more [the horse] responded to him,’ says Karol. To read this article and more, go to

Swiftsure Ranch is moving into doing more of this type of Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) which both “take mental health and learning practices ‘to the barn’ as an experiential approach to personal growth and healing,” says Brienne Mabry, one of our Advanced Equine Instructors. Mabry continues, “The EFP or EFL sessions are goal oriented to meet the participant’s needs in an individual, group, or family setting. Within the field of equine-assisted activities, EFP and EFL add the emotional and cognitive aspects of treating the whole person and help them with their needs in a multidimensional way.”

Swiftsure Ranch currently offers EFL and EFP sessions on a limited bases and hopes to move into a fully designed program in the next year where we can offer individual lessons on a regular bases for those who would benefit the most from these types of therapy.

To learn more about EFL and EFP, go to to read more.

If you are interested in volunteering, or supporting more programs like these, please contact us. 208.578.9111, or email