“It’s beautiful to see the reactions of people.” Horse Therapy is taking off, and California trailblazer Sabine Niederberghaus is leading the way.
The world is a far different place than it was two years ago. From the continuing COVID-19 Pandemic, to escalating political climates here in America and abroad, navigating the day-to-day can be, at best, exhausting.
Thankfully, our time is also turning more towards mental health as paramount to overall health. Our minds and bodies are one and the same, and few things exemplify this connection as perfectly as horse therapy.
Equestrian center founder Sabine Niederberghaus has become a leading expert on the therapy in recent years. In fact, she founded the La Esperanza Ranch in Topanga Canyon, California, almost three decades ago. Yet it was the COVID-19 Pandemic that led her to want to do more for those suffering in such trying times.
Now, some 27 years on, Sabine has begun the Equine Leadership Program.
“I had time during the pandemic to think about what I was doing and to feel where my mission was going to be,” Niederberghaus tells Fox News.
“When this all opened back up and I was foreseeing that people were going to get stressed and they’re going to get you know, existence problems, communication problems in the family,” Sabine continues, “I thought, you know what? I’m going to be helping some people and I hope I will help a lot of people to find to themselves.”
Horse Therapy Offers a ‘Mirror’ to the Self, and Back into Nature, for Those Struggling with their Mental Health
Through horse therapy, Sabine hopes to help individuals find “their true inside, their emotions, their awareness, their energy levels.”
She does exactly this through her Equine Leadership Program, too. It’s an individualized program wherein Niederberghaus matches people directly with compatible horses. The connection built between the two then helps up their confidence and awareness, she says.
The therapy has been proven to help individuals with depression, anxiety, trauma, and similar mental health issues in recent years.
“There are CEOs that have a problem getting across to their team members, [and] composers that have a problem concentrating on their music,” Niederberghaus adds for the outlet. “It’s all because they have lost touch to themselves. And the horses are the ones that bring them back there.”
And we’re not out of the weeds yet. as the COVID pandemic rages on, Sabine says she’s noticing a distinct uptick in people seeking out horse therapy.
Above all, “It’s beautiful to see the reactions of people,” she continues. “I think that the touch to nature is another symbol that this horse reflects that brings them to me.”
Sienna Nelson is a client of Sabine’s, and sought out horse therapy as a way to combat the mental toll her skin condition takes on her.
“On the first day, I felt more present, more grounded, more connected to my inner voice. And I’ve just gained a lot of confidence,” Nelson smiles.
So how do the horses serve such a vital role? It all comes down to their “incredible development of [the] senses,” Niederberghaus cites. “They are a mirror to you when you come and you work with them… I can tell within thirty seconds where you’re at.”