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Horses and Human Health: equine therapy and science

Horse therapyThe idea that animals possess healing powers has been present in human lore since our hunter-gatherer days, but the first documented use of animals for therapeutic purposes wasn’t until 18th century England.
 
It was then that William Tuke introduced mentally ill patients to some domesticated animals for therapeutic purposes. Tuke, a Quaker and early advocate for the humane treatment of those with mental illness, found that the animals boosted morale in his patients–especially the elderly and those with dementia.
 
As more adopted Tuke’s approach, dogs became the therapy animal of choice; Florence Nightingale and Sigmund Freud, for example, both concluded that patients–especially difficult ones–opened up and were more receptive to therapy when dogs were present during treatment sessions.
 
On through to the present, everyone from children to those in nursing homes, psychiatric facilities, and even prisons can partake in animal-assisted therapy.
 
 
Horse therapy hugs
 
 

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