Horses Have the Power to Heal Emotional Wounds

Horses have an amazing power to heal. RadimSpitzer/iStock/Thinkstock

Tim Hayes, author of Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal, saw firsthand 20 years ago just how much impact a horse can have on a person. Hayes visited Miraval, a Tucson, Arizona-based resort and spa that offers the Equine Experience, a service that allows the individual to “[p]ractice living life in the moment as you work with specially selected horses and our expert facilitators. You’ll perform equestrian ground skills, getting a chance to notice personal patterns of learned behavior that may be holding you back from the life you want to live,” according to its website.

While there
, Hayes witnessed a woman named Mary interacting with the horse. According to his blog entry in Huffington Post, “Mary was asked to walk over to a horse named Daisy and pick up and clean all four of her feet. Mary tried everything she could think of–making noises, pinching the horse’s leg, even verbal pleading–to get Daisy to lift up a hoof, but nothing worked. After about five minutes Mary stopped trying and tears started rolling down her cheeks. Mary was asked to come back and share with the group what she was thinking and feeling. She said, ‘I feel like such a failure. I hate myself for not being able to do this.’ The therapist said, ‘Mary, have you ever done this before?’ Mary said, ‘No.’ The therapist said, ‘Why didn’t you ask for help?’ Mary said, ‘It’s embarrassing.’ Then she paused, thought for a moment, and almost absentmindedly added, “That’s probably why I don’t like to try anything new.”

interaction with the horse gave her some insight into herself and the desire to change it. This self-awareness allowed her to get closer to healing her wounds.

But as we
know, self-awareness through equine-facilitated psychotherapy isn’t the only thing horses help with. Horses help with disabilitiesdealing with traumatic events and PTSD.

Has a horse helped you or someone you know? Share your story in the comments.

Read more about Hayes’ new book at The Huffington Post.


  1. I myself have suffered from depression, PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder for years. My horses have helped me learn how to stay calm even when I feel so out of control. They are my emotional mirrors, reflecting the good and bad right back at me. Not to mention they have proven to be great listeners,can keep secrets and never judge you for anything.

  2. After the loss of our only child, our 31 year old son, who died suddenly, I was in deep depression. I had lost my best friend! I was lucky enough to find North Shore Horse Rescue and Sanctuary in Baiting Hollow, NY. There I was paired with a horse named Sir. He has helped me to deal with my loss in a calming way. And has allowed me to open my heart again! Working with him and the other rescues has put my sorrow into perspective!

  3. Especially for Veterans suffering from PTSD and other TBIs, horses offering a non-verbal healing. I have emotional issues after suffering from a tragic auto accident on 9/11. I began volunteering for the Veteran Barn Door Project working with Veterans and horses. This therapeutic facility helped me find peace of mind while helping the Veterans find theirs as well.


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