equine therapy

Today's the last day of Courage Camp -- heading back to Houston today.  It's been a wonderful experience.

One of the most interesting things I learned about is equine therapy -- which is not about getting a horse to lie down on a couch and tell you its feelings (disappointingly); nor is it about actually riding a horse for therapy (which is what I initially thought).  It's about something else altogether.

Because horses are animals that are historically preyed upon ("eyes on front, the animal hunts; eyes on side, the animal hides" -- who knew?), they are incredibly intuitive, and can read another mammal that enters its space.  They're also apparently really kind and supportive.  So psychotherapists, psychologists and other mental-health professionals who are trained in equine-assisted therapy literally hold their sessions in an arena or a paddock -- you're guided in, and you're encouraged to approach the horse and simply establish a relationship with her.  The horse, who can sense any apprehension you have, or openness, or bravado, can help you address any issues you might be facing, up to and including comforting you if you're sad or scared. And because Brené Brown uses the metaphor of "the arena" in her books on shame and vulnerability, there are equine-assisted mental-health professionals who love to use her work and research in their sessions -- since they're literally in the arena when they work.

It's so incredibly cool.

There was a demonstration of equine-assisted therapy yesterday, and now I kind of want to do a session myself.  Have you guys ever heard of this?  Ever done one?  My therapist peeps out there, have you ever trained in equine-assisted therapy?  Tell me more!