More and more, animal therapy is proving an incredible outlet for the psychological and physiological betterment of people from diverse walks of life.
For instance, we recently reported a story about a documentary called Castaways that chronicles the rehabilitation program of unwanted dogs who are paired with prison inmates. There’s no question of the lasting effect that that two have on each other by the end of their program — but similar programs with different animals are also successful. The ranch below is one such example.
Much like the dogs of the aforementioned program, the horses at Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation are castaways of their own — former racing horses from many different backgrounds who, for any number of reasons, were no longer of use to their breeders. ABC News reports that a program called The TRF Second Chances Program is pairing inmates with horses at correctional facilities in nine states. Equine therapy has long been proven effective for victims of trauma and PTSD, as well as for people with unique physical therapy needs. But it’s benefits at Second Chances yield something else entirely. “While TRF Second Chances began as a vocational program,” says its website, “it wasn’t long before other benefits of the program were realized; inmates not only learned a viable skill but also gained confidence and a sense of empathy. Studies have shown a reduction in recidivism rates at facilities that host the program.”
“It taught me patience,” says Jose Sotomayor from the Bronx, NY. “Now I look at things differently. I’m more calm. I think things through. It keeps me out of trouble.”
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