Monday, November 16, 2015

Animal Therapy..

We have been very busy with the animals on our little farmette. The goaties are all pregnant. The bunny just had babies. The horses need daily work. It keeps us very busy, but I am already seeing the benefits of daily interaction with these lovable animals!

Copied from here
Equine therapy is the discipline of using horses as a means to provide metaphoric experiences in order to promote emotional growth. 

Equine therapy has shown to have many positive benefits when correctly taught by certified therapists. Some of them include:
  • Confidence
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Self-Concept
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Perspective
  • Decreased Isolation
  • Self-Acceptance
  • Impulse Control
  • Social Skills
  • Boundaries
  • Spiritual Connection

Research indicates that interaction with therapy animals can temporarily affect the release of various neurotransmitters in the brain; levels of oxytocin (linked with bonding) and dopamine (involved in the reward-motivation system) are increased, while cortisol levels (an immunosuppressant associated with stress) are decreased.

These goats follow the kids everywhere. If they see Matia come outside, they  all come running! The goats will even crawl into the kid's laps if they sit down in the meadow. 

My kids get up and go out to the barn at 7 am and 5 pm every day. They rarely complain. They make sure their animals are fed, watered and comfortable. They love on the animals and always come back inside in a happy mood.

The horses do on occasion give us a hard time. It takes ALOT of work on my part to keep the horse part of things running smoothly.The kids are not allowed to be working with the horses unless I can see/help them. The horses can be very stubborn, especially if the kids are in a mood. It forces the kids to address their own feelings/emotions in order to deal with the horses attitudes.
My kids learn to love the animals, which is sometimes easier then loving humans. They learn to care for another living being, not just the physical needs but the emotional needs.  They learn responsibility and they see the benefits of hardwork. Taking care of animals is very rewarding for kids, especially the goats and horses. 

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