Horsing Around

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The Solutions men had an opportunity to engage in some serious Horseplay this week at Windwalkers in Carbondale. Windwalkers uses the movement, power and intuition of horses to enhance lives of those with both physical and mental challenges. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, though a relatively new field, has proven to help people discover new ways of dealing with and overcoming problems.
It’s not about riding horses, rather, it’s about interacting with horses on the ground so clients can learn more about the emotions they feel and how to deal with them. Horses are very social animals and mirror exactly what human body language and non-verbal cues are telling them. The horses give immediate non-judgmental feedback and react to the signals they receive. The theory is that what is learned while interacting with the horses will translate to relationships with other people. This weeks lesson challenged the men to create a maze of obstacles and then guide the horses through them without touching them. The obstacles were labeled with principles we learn from recovery; honesty, courage, humility, perseverance, etc. The men worked together to problem solve as a team. Finally, after several attempts a bridle was held in front of the horses and they moved through the maze. The bridle can serve as a metaphor for the tools we learn through the 12 steps and the group effort as the Fellowship of recovery. The solutions men will complete a two-hour therapy session once a month with the opportunity to be of service by volunteering at Windwalkers.

Mark Kloster

Alumni Coordinator

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