Equine therapy among programs offered at new centre near London

A horse used for therapy work is seen at Belvoir Estate Farm in Delaware, Ont. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. (Celine Zadorsky / CTV London)

The power of a horse's mind is being used a therapeutic tool at a new centre just west of London, Ont.

That power is something neurosurgeon and horse trainer Dr. Allan Hamilton says is an amazing tool when it comes to therapy.

“Horses appeal to the side of our brain which is really emotional and intuitive so it’s a direct emotional connection.”

He says working with horses for therapeutic purposes can make a huge difference for those struggling with mental illness.

“One of the things they teach is individuals to be less reactive. Horses work off our energy and as we calm ourselves and as we quiet ourselves inside the horse responds to that and it teaches us to be less reactive to triggers and to be less on the fight or flight scale.”

Hamilton, who is known worldwide for his therapy work with horses, has made his way from Tucson, AZ to Delaware, Ont. to help launch a new equine therapeutic facility called Belvoir Estate Farm.

“We are going to have equine therapy for first responders. We also have a program called From Barnyard to Boardroom to bring executives together to learn a new way of leadership and learning from the horse,” says the founder of the facility Ute Lawrence.

Lawrence, who struggled with PTSD, says she got the idea to build this facility after horse therapy helped change her life.

“Every time I thought of the horse I had goosebumps and welled up with love and compassion and that’s when I thought, we need to have some equine therapy somewhere around London.”

The first therapeutic programs will be kicking off this month and there will be other therapeutic programs down the road.