In this individual equine-assisted psychotherapy session a client learns to take a different approach to relationships in his life. Rather than building "fences" he learns to build trust and to reward desired behaviors in others.
A woman facing a difficult life situation finds herself outside her "comfort zone," avoiding decision making, and pushing herself, feeling that she is "not on track." She states, "I'm pushing forward but taking two steps back." In this excerpt from an equine-assisted psychotherapy session, viewers can see clearly how this therapeutic model employs the horse both as a metaphor and as a catalyst to facilitate therapeutic issues coming to the surface.
Young adults hone their attention and focusing skills in an animal-assisted nature exposure therapy experience at Eye of a Horse on the grounds of Forever Florida, a 4700-acre wildlife preserve in rural Osceola County. These students are using "voluntary" attention skills to locate everyday objects which have been hidden in a dense cypress stand on the preserve. To make the exercise more challenging each was assigned a horse during the exercise. The horse represents personal responsibilities, which can demand and divide our attention. The students were required to monitor their horses' behaviors and deal with the distracting elements the horses typically produce, while staying focused on the task of searching for hidden objects in the dense forested area.
According to Stephen and Rachel Kaplan's Attention Restoration Theory, natural (particularly "green") settings command and hold our "involuntary" attention, an effortless process that is much less resource intensive and actually has a restorative effect on our "voluntary" attention capacity--that which is required when we need to directly focus on a task at hand and keep distractions at bay. Voluntary attention is much more cognitively draining. (More information on nature's effect on attention skills can be found in the published works of Stephen and Rachel Kaplan.)