Therapy horses can make tremendous differences in people’s lives, but training the therapy horse is a long process which enables the horse to do his job.
Therapy horses have very special jobs. They can provide people with therapy and equine-assisted learning from the ground. Therapy horses are also sometimes taken into situations, like nursing homes and trauma centers, to provide people with emotional support. But training the therapy horse isn’t quite the same process as training your average riding horse is.
Therapy horses must be able to cope with crowded spaces, people approaching and touching them from different angles, and unusual situations like paved roads or tiled floors. They need to be patient, well-behaved, and calm no matter what’s going on around them. While some horses naturally possess some of these traits, training is an important factor in developing and preparing the therapy horse.
This video provides a great look at the basic training that many therapy horses go through. Take a look!
Sometimes all the training in the world cannot make a particular horse into a reliable therapy horse. That’s why it’s just as important to take your time in finding the right horse as it is to train the horse well. When looking for a horse to use in a therapy program, look for a horse which is laid-back, tolerant, and calm.
A horse which is naturally accepting of people and which isn’t easily worked up by multiple people handling it has a good chance of being decent in a therapeutic setting.
If you’re not sure just how to train your horse, then definitely enlist the help of a professional. Training is one area that you never want to skimp on. See if you can find a trainer who will allow you to observe the training sessions so that you can learn about training and the work that you should continue to do with your horse.