Colorado Therapy Horses by HIS, Inc.

Horses Healing the Human Heart

Our Story

We are dedicated to serve Veterans with PTSD & their families, child and adult cancer survivors and their caregivers, under-served and at risk kids, kids and adults with special needs, treatment court clients and all others with suffering from emotional difficulties.

Human Interpersonal Services(HIS) is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation formed in 2012 by Richard McMahan, MA, a CAC III Substance Abuse Counselor, Vocational Evaluator/Counselor and Equine Assisted Psychotherapist. HIS was created to serve in the Equine assisted psychotherapy service that is an emerging form of therapeutic intervention in which horses are used as tools for clients to gain self-understanding and emotional growth. Equine assisted psychotherapy is a type of animal assisted therapy, a field of mental health that recognizes the bond between animals and humans and the potential for emotional healing that can occur when a relationship is formed between the two species.

Equine assisted psychotherapy involves equine activities set up and facilitated by a licensed mental health professional such as those provided at Human Interpersonal Services, often with the help or standby support of a horse professional also provided by Human Interpersonal Services. These activities are most often performed on the ground (rather than riding), and include such things as grooming, feeding, haltering and leading the horse. During the process of working with the horse, the therapist and client engage in talk therapy, processing feelings, behaviors and patterns. The ultimate goal for the client is to build skills such as personal responsibility, assertiveness, non-verbal communication, self-confidence, and self-control.

Why use horses for psychotherapy? One reason is because horses need a lot of care. A client can put aside his or her own troubles in the immediate job of caring for the horse. Horses are large and strong, which challenges a person to overcome their fear in order to work with the animal. Horses mirror moods, too; they respond negatively to negative emotions, teaching the client that his behavior can affect others, and making it necessary to modify behavior in order to work successfully with the animal.

Much can be learned from simply observing horse behavior. Horses can be stubborn or defiant, playful or moody. They have a variety of 'herd dynamics' such as pushing, kicking, biting, squealing, grooming one another, and grazing together. In the process of describing the horse and the interactions between the horses, clients can learn about themselves and their own family dynamics. Using kindness instead of brute force with a horse teaches humans self control and how to communicate, a horse can't be forced by brute force.

Equine assisted psychotherapy is thought to be an effective short-term therapeutic approach for both individuals and families, addressing a number of mental health problems, including behavioral issues, substance abuse where clients can be empowered through horses instead of drugs or alcohol, addictions, depression and anxiety, low self esteem, eating disorders, ADD/ADHD, post traumatic stress disorder, and relationship problems. While there is a need for research to support anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of Equine assisted psychotherapy, this type of animal assisted therapy is slowly gaining support among mental health professionals such as Human Interpersonal Services. HIS has had numerous success stories, some posted on our website.

Next, another important part of our services is the “Natural Humanship Training”
Natural Humanship is a form of training through relationship, incorporating the use of the “5 senses” that allows the human to experience new insights about self by interaction with an animal. It incorporates the Biblical philosophy that addiction is a “power and control issue”, motivated by “fear”, resulting in using substances to feel temporarily in control. Work with the animal teaches the paradox of this concept. Horses are used in our “training” model because they are large and powerful, very much like humans in that they are social animals; horses have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. Horses like to have fun; they require work, whether in caring for them or working with them. Most importantly, horses have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them and last of all; they are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.

Horses also teach effective communication, build confidence & self-empowerment and encourage leadership without relying on intimidation. These tools and knowledge transfer to personal life situations.

How is this program different from other equine-facilitated therapy programs?
Though, there are several similar equine-facilitated therapy and therapeutic riding programs, “Natural Humanship Training” is one of the few that integrates “natural” horsemanship principals while ingeniously allowing the human to be trained by the horse. “Natural Humanship Training” uses techniques developed centuries ago by the Native Americans that encourage willing communication between horse and human through numerous ground and social interaction exercises, creating a partnership based on Respect, Trust, and Love. “Natural Humanship Training” is not therapy, it is an experience that allows the human to be in the “wild” or on the “farm”, while letting the “little kid” out to play and allows him/her to be in relationship with a big four legged animal that loves them unconditionally, forgives all mistakes and desires friendship. The model is similar to the experience men have at Harvest Farm in Wellington, Colorado. There the human cares for the daily needs of the farm animals and interacts in a work related environment for thirteen months. Natural Humanship Training focuses on the relationship between man and animal with the training or educational element of teaching the human about themselves through the use of Biblical and other metaphors.

Why the Horse?

There are several benefits to using horses:

• Next to God, the horse is man’s best friend and a very spiritual animal.
• Horses don’t lie, and cannot be deceived.
• Horses are incredibly forgiving.
• Horses do not respond to force or anger, they, instead demand soft, loving, but firm communication.
• Horses require participants to be mentally and physically engaged at all times.
• Working with 1000-lb animals takes participants out of their “comfort zone,” thus facilitating change.
• The social nature of the horse and being a “flight” animal living in a heard gives the human insight into themselves.
• Participants must rely on others—the horsemen—for assistance in a new situation. This opens them to others, and their minds to learning.
• Horses often become the human’s confidant.
• Time with horses provides a relaxing, often spiritual, environment for participants.
• Horses, the outdoors and the smells allow many metaphors about life to help the human change their thinking.
• Horses don’t lie, and cannot be deceived.
• Horses are incredibly forgiving.
• Horses do not respond to force or anger, they, instead demand soft, loving, but firm communication.
• Horses require participants to be mentally and physically engaged at all times.
• Working with 1000-lb animals takes participants out of their “comfort zone,” thus facilitating change.
• The social nature of the horse and being a “flight” animal living in a heard gives the human insight into themselves.
• Participants must rely on others—the horsemen—for assistance in a new situation. This opens them to others, and their minds to learning.
• Horses often become the human’s confidant.
• Time with horses provides a relaxing, often spiritual, environment for participants.
• Horses, the outdoors and the smells allow many metaphors about life to help the human change their thinking.
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
~ Sir Winston Churchill ~

Overcoming Fear & Enhancing Communication

Fear is the most “controlling” emotion and often leads to anger, frustration, and negative life choices. Through work with the horses, participants overcome fear while enhancing communication skills through activities such as:

• Learning basic safety around horses.
• Haltering and grooming their “project” horse.
• Learning to read the horse and communicate non-verbally in a variety of ground exercises.
• Practicing non-verbal communication with other humans in partnered activities.

These activities give the humans a greater awareness of body language, tone of voice, and help them to identify and address personal emotions. In turn, they are able and more willing to communicate openly and appropriately in their personal and professional lives. Above all, this program allows the human to achieve a sense of inner peace.

Achieving through “Natural Humanship Training”:

• Increased Patience, Self-Empowerment and Confidence
• Overcoming Fear, Managing Anger
• Creative Problem-Solving
• Flexibility: Adjusting to Fit a Situation
• Setting and achieving Short- and Long-term goals
• Independence & Cooperation
• A Positive Support Community
• Effective Communication Skills
• Becoming an Effective Leader without Using Intimidation

Human Interpersonal Service is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to serving men and women through various means of counseling, mentoring and other services to become productive parts of their communities, locally and nationally. We do this in part through a unique Equine Therapy called “Natural Humanship Training” which is one of the few methods that integrates “natural” horsemanship principals while ingeniously allowing the human to be trained by the horse.

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CONTACT INFORMATION

Colorado Therapy Horses by HIS, Inc.
Colorado Therapy Horses by HIS, Inc.

1808 88th Avenue, Greeley, CO, 80634