Léa follows this type of therapy at the Esperenza Center in Ascot Corner. She goes there regularly for therapeutic meetings which allow her to manage her anxiety problems.
“It really allowed me to concretize my problems and to see them visually, because it’s really a visual representation that horses make us, I learned to put my limits a lot because with a horse you don’t you have no choice but to set your limits and have yourself respected,” explains Léa.
Equitherapy is the assisted accompaniment of the horse to make people walk in their personal process. Throughout their encounter with the animal, a support worker accompanies them. What Léa mainly does during her meetings depends on her mood and her desires.
“It depends on how we feel, on the energy that lives in us, it may be that if there are several things happening in my life or if I feel a little less well, we will go and do more meditation , brushing, something soft. If I don’t feel like moving anymore, we’ll go with the horses to ride them or do free work,” explains Léa.
The center accompanies both children, adolescents and adults who are experiencing emotional issues. The owner and founder of Center Espérenza, Isabelle Nadeau, confirms that the needs of her clientele vary, ranging from issues of social anxiety and performance, self-confidence, self-esteem and identification, to issues of depression, eating disorders or any other phobia or atypical behavior.
“We don’t just accompany people who have behavioral problems. They are also people who want to move forward in their process. We attract a lot more female customers,” she says.
The importance of taking care of yourself
“I think it’s really important for people to seek mental health care. It’s so important even if we don’t always want to admit it. I recommend it, girl as well as boy”, emphasizes the young girl who benefits from equine therapy.
While the state of young people’s mental health continues to be a concern for public health, Isabelle Nadeau wishes to put forward solutions such as equine therapy to counter mental health problems.
“I think that in the society we live in we are under a lot of pressure. The Covid has also caused the level of anxiety to rise a lot, and then young people are greatly affected. There is a lack of tools, of solutions and here we provide them”, mentions the founder.
Why did you choose equine therapy?
“I’ve done classic therapy before and it’s really less my style. It is not something that speaks to me of being seated in an armchair. Here I am in interaction”, indicates Léa.
For Léa, who over time has developed a passion for the equestrian world, being able to combine therapeutic sessions with her love for horses is the best of both worlds.
“It’s less confrontational than sitting facing each other, it’s outside the context of life. (…¸) The horse becomes a therapeutic support. (…) Equitherapy is that you are directly in action with the horse. For example, if you experience anxiety, you are stressed and you arrive at the stable, the horse will feel it too. We don’t even need to talk, it’s all there,” explains Ms. Nadeau.
The equestrian center relies on activities that focus on support with the horse and the development of a relationship of trust. Games on the ground with the horse and a little horse riding are offered.
“If you need to work on your confidence or your anxiety, you have to know that you have to support the animal in that. (…) You would have to reassure the horse for example, to develop your ability to be a good leader, to make you respected and also your ability to reassure him so that he develops a relationship of trust with you”, cites as an example Isabelle Nadeau, who is also a horse-assisted therapist.
As much for Léa as for Isabelle Nadeau, equine therapy is an effective solution to deal with various problems. After only a few meetings, the therapist mentions that the patients have acquired tools to manage their level of anxiety themselves.
“When you see a horse that you have managed to appease, you know that you can do it for yourself afterwards,” says the founder of the equestrian center.
“It also developed a certain passion in me for horses, so even if at some point I no longer need a follow-up I will still come back”, concludes the young girl.