Equine-Assisted Therapy (The Role of Horses in Operation Pegasus)
A primary goal in TRM is learning the skills that regulate your nervous system, and then apply them while recounting the traumatic event/s you have been exposed to. In short, this teaches you to calm and regulate your nervous system without becoming overwhelmed by anger or panic.
Interacting with a horse is a choice for program participants. Activities with horses are not necessary for the effectiveness of the treatment model. Depending on your life experiences, you will (or won’t) have some degree of interest and curiosity in activities with horses. When working with horses, participants begin by observing activities with horses that demonstrate the usage of several therapeutic skills such as:
- Modeling how the nervous system works
- Movement (engagement in a meaningful physical activity restores strength to many body systems)
- Mindfulness (being mindful of the internal sensations in your organs, muscles, and skin helps your communication with horses, and improves the stress-relieving benefits of TRM skills)
- Confidence (horses need calm & assertive leadership; providing it for horses also provides it for yourself)
- TRM skill practice (you improve your ability to detect and stop the harsh internal sensations of trauma)
- Accumulating activities not contaminated by the trauma
- Accumulating horsemanship skills that offer a lifelong therapeutic social activity for the individual and family members
A therapeutic riding instructor guides the activities of grooming, groundwork, and horseback riding (using the Centered Riding® method). These interactive activities are conducted after a session with the therapist to learn about the biology of trauma and TRM symptom-management skills. You can go as far into horsemanship as it pleases you, and can opt out at any time.