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Recent research shows people obtain therapeutic benefit from interacting with horses


A study released recently by university researchers reinforces a long-held belief of a Kamsack woman who has been fostering therapeutic sessions with horses at Ravenheart Farm...Researchers Colleen Dell of the University of Saskatchewan and Darlene Chalmers of the University of Regina released study results showing that people who participated in mental health and addictions treatment programs involving interactions with horses reported therapeutic benefits in their healing.
 
In the 2014 pilot study, 60 clients provided feedback on 287 encounters (sessions with horses) in programs at four addiction and mental health treatment sites in Saskatchewan, said a release from the Department of Sociology and School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan. Program facilitators and treatment site staff reported their observations as well.
 
One of the programs involved learning self-development skills through interactions with horses, the release said. Two focused on therapeutic horsemanship (riding and care of horses) for children and youth in residential care. The fourth involved a collaborative approach to psychotherapy involving a licensed therapist and a horse professional in addressing client treatment goals.
 
“It is interesting to see the similarity in outcomes from the four different sites,” said Chalmers. “The clients participating in all the programs felt love and support from the horses, which is an important and often overlooked element of human healing.”
 

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