IMG_4227Equine Programming as part of Addiction Treatment

Roy Madden Founding Equine Director- The Madden Method

When an individual forms a bond with a horse in an equine program, that animal is a physical representation of a blank slate. It arrives into the relationship with no pre-conceived notions or opinions about the recovering addict. This provides an opportunity for the individual to understand how their behavior affects others. For many who have lived with drug addiction for years, this realization is paramount to a breakthrough.

Throughout the course of the treatment day, the individual will tend to their horse. A regular schedule will be maintained -and just like counseling sessions or yoga classes, the individual will be expected to attend on a regular basis. Counselors play a role in equine therapy as well, talking extensively to clients about their experiences while caring for the horses -and building a metaphor between these tasks and the rebuilding of one’s life. The hope being that many of the positive things learned by the individual will become tools they can use to get clean and sober for the long-haul.

Benefits of  the Equine Program

Individuals benefit greatly from the new sense of responsibility that develops during equine therapy. Of equal importance is the fact that equine involvement begins to replace drug use with another, more positive activity. During drug rehab, many people simply need something to take their minds off things -and equine therapy provides a soothing, fulfilling way to do just that.

The bond that develops between horse and Client involves:

  • Affection
  • Assertiveness
  • Communication skills
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Mutual trust
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Self-control
  • Unconditional acceptance