Being understood, really live and start smiling again: where the man cannot get, the horse does, becoming as in the case of equine-assisted therapy, a friend, a guardian angels for whoever needs the most.
The animal is considered a familiaris, a silent soul-brother sticking by us, or a soul mender that understands the human psyche, a different dimension from our Ego.
What the famous american philosopher and psychologist James Hillman meant is clear. There are some features of animals, especially horses, which look inside us, which seem familiar and, somehow, succeed in reading us perfectly and healing our deepest wounds. It might be his mysterious self which has always characterized him that makes him so empathic and sensitive that we let him look inside ourselves. It might be the pact that keeps regenerating everytime a colt is brought to life, that percentual of freedom inside the horse’s soul that allows us to see how this historical agreement between horses and humans is delicate, and the necessity of its keeping. It allures us and takes down the shield that we have always had, and we let him study us, fill our voids, understand and cure.
Horses have always been considered different from the other animals due to their emapthy that fixes the most troubled soul, reaching the point where no skilled human hand could ever reach. Horses cure the man, and the man, in front of such wisdom and audacity, looses himself into his eyes, movements and noisy silences and lets the horse mend his wounds.
I UNDERSTAND YOU
Horses are extremely senstitive to body language. Since they are social animals, they perceive any type of communication, that sometimes is not perceivable through a stethoscope. They are able to deliver strong emotions due to their strenght and majesty that boost mindfulness, help us disocver ourselves, give a sense of protection and increase our self-esteem and confidence. Moreover, the regular pace and trot galvanize the physical and mental rehabilitation. In a nutshell, horses learn how to deal with us, as soon as we associate ourselves with him. He reads our wounds, he relates himself with them, he encodes our movements, he does what is simple but not predictable: he understands us without the need of explaining or telling anything. Often the disability makes you feel different, abandoned, not linked with the rest of the world. And that is when horses act: by letting us enter in their hemisphere, they give us chanaces that would be denied to us otherwise.
I LIVE YOU
In Italy, many equestrian-assisted therapy centers have been established: one of these centers is the equestrian-assisted therapy rehabilitation center Vittorio Capua situated in Niguarda hospital in Milan. It’s the home of happiness and carefreeness, in one word: peace. Children are accompanied by their parents and look so enthusiastic as they see their horse walking in, that they immediately run towards the therapist to be picked up and placed on the saddle. Once they are sitting on the back, their face expression starts to change. Patient horses let themselves to be led and, at a slow pace, they introduce these children to a new world, a merrier and less complicated world. The therapy works really well and that can be seen on parents’ faces and from the movements of those who leave an atmosphere made of silence, insulations and fears, and discover a new dimension that, albeit depreived of words, makes a big uproar.
Some children throw themselves back on the horseback and look up over the ceiling and smile. Others gently stroke the mane and then hold firmly to it. Legs dangles on the horse sides and horses themselves become legs, smile, chance, movement to something that was previuosly unreachable for them. They do not need many tries: their amazing empathy blows away every kid and whoever is watching outside the field. What is created are hopes and the unconditional desire of smiling without fearing prejudice, diversity and incomprehension, victim of something that it was not chosen. There was something that, since a long time, needed to be filled with a meaning, not with just a simple dull sound. To give a chance to someone that has been waiting so long, to create a new starting point in which regenerate theirselves, to give the possibility of a new life, are gifts that a horse offers, and they only ask to be lived. Once again, it is proven that horses are the man’s soul healers, that care for his happiness, needs, understanding and mend his wounds. Horses deservedly own the title of magical medicine.