From: Peggy’s Pet Place
Photo: Catherine’s daughter Haley and pal
Most of you who read this blog understand and may have even experienced healing bonds with animals. I often write about how dogs heal. Of course, cats, rabbits and many other animals help humans as well. Today please welcome my good friend Catherine Madera, author of two books about horses– Rodeo Dreams for young adults and Rain Shadow for adults–who shares about healing power of horses.
Guest Post by Catherine Madera
I’ve been a horsewoman all of my life and am blessed by several special horses that helped me grow up (and continue to help me “grow up”). Belief in the “goodness” of horses, their innate ability to help human beings, is part of the back bone of my recently released novel, Rain Shadow.
It’s always fascinating to me how a work of fiction is birthed. How does that happen, exactly? I think most writers will say that the creation of a story—particularly fiction– is a mysterious process, not fully understood even by the author. Rain Shadow has more than its share of real life inspiration, however, most notably my writing the true account of an Oregon horse that miraculously survived double gun shots to the head and now has a special ministry to high risk youth and adults. This story received international attention. Coincidentally (though I’m not really a believer in such a thing), at the time Rain Shadow was taking shape, I was also co-authoring a book about experiential therapy using horses; specifically why it is more effective as a mental health therapy than traditional counseling. The Listening Heart is soon to be released and is an in depth look at Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning (EFPL). Leigh Shambo, primary author, is a licensed therapist and the first to study the long term effectiveness of EFPL—the “stickiness” of the therapy—on those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Her findings, and the science that grounds the field, is fascinating and a must-read for all animal lovers. I believe the bonds we have with our animal friends could only be divinely orchestrated.
Four basic ways horses are effective in mental health therapy:
1. Because they are sensitive herd animals they possess keen intuition
about human emotional states and sense and react to incongruency.
2. They are incapable of masking emotion and are powerful therapeutic
3. As a person sorts out their own feelings, horses respond positively
which immediately rewards changes in emotional behaviors and actions.
4. Horses are a safe attachment object for severely abused and
traumatized people, those who may be initially resistant to straight
office type therapies.
Rain Shadow Book Jacket blurb:
Leaving California and the ruins of a love affair, 21-year-old Taylor Reed
To learn more about The Listening Heart and EFPL visit www.humanequinealliance.org
Read more: Peggy’s Pet Place