A Case Study

Nancy (name changed) was a young girl, age 11, who was referred to the Equi-Rhythm program by her therapist because she was having relationship difficulties at the school-day treatment program she attended. While Nancy wanted to have friends, she would blame and push away those who wanted to be close to her.

Nancy was introduced to Equi-Rhythm horses Pago, Bokamir, and Doc and tasked with haltering one of them. After many unsuccessful attempts to halter one of the horses, who were much more interested in the green grass in the jumping arena, Nancy was close to giving up. She was hot, tired, and very frustrated at the lack of cooperation she felt the horses were giving her and she told her therapist so, stating “they like the green grass better than me.”

Close to tears she stopped in the middle of the arena and hung her head, uncertain what to do next. She held the halter in her hands ready for use, but was unable to step outside of her fear and frustration. Bokamir lifted his head from the farthest corner of arena and saw Nancy standing in the center of the arena. He then left the green grass and walked to the center of the arena and placed his head into the open halter.

Bokamir sensed Nancy’s feelings and vulnerability. Bokamir read Nancy’s heart and knew what she needed at that moment and gave that gift to her. He gave her a sense of connection to another being, and from that connection she was able to experience unconditional acceptance and giving without strings attached.

Rocky Mountain Equi-Rhythm: Philosophy

Our philosophy incorporates both psychological and spiritual focuses when working with horses in nature.

The psychological focus of equine therapy is based in the therapist’s knowledge of appropriate intervention strategies that support and allow for growth in individuals. We believe that the therapist is not the determinant of an individual’s change process, but is a guide who sets the stage and provides an individual with the opportunity to struggle with the lessons that he or she seeks to master, in collaboration with the horse as his or her guide.

The spiritual focus is our belief that there is a greater power that exists and guides and directs our work with the horse and the individual. We believe that the horse is the therapy vehicle, and that the therapist establishes a learning environment that allows the individual and the horse to interact in a safe setting. The therapist creates opportunities to help a person discover what it is he or she needs to learn in order to grow and successfully handle life’s challenges.