North Dakota’s Sitting Bull College has used horse therapists for the past five years to help veterans who have returned from war with physical, mental or emotional barriers. The college’s Equine Assisted Learning Program helps these men and women overcome those barriers.
"I truly believe they've (horses) learned how to protect themselves and keep themselves safe, and as a people we've kind of lost that, how to keep ourselves safe, emotionally, physically, mentally." "When we connect with these horses, we connect with our soul, because we have to change so much, whether we like it or not, to make that connection.”
Horses Help Heal Emotional Trauma. Being herding animals, horses rely on an acute stream of sensory data to sense safety or danger; they can also hear the human heartbeat within four feet, and research on heart-rate variability indicates that horses have a profound ability to synchronize their own heartbeat with that of human beings.
Anyone who has spent significant time around horses won't be surprised, but a study published in the journal Biology Letters has found that horses can easily distinguish between happy and angry human facial expressions.