Operation Centaur, an equine therapy centre in Richmond Park, London, was a key partner for the campaign. Its founder Andreas Liefooghe says, “Therapy relies on language. Horses are expert communicators, yet they never rely on language. Everything happens with energy. When my patients connect to horses, they can reconnect with a disavowed part of themselves.”
Equine therapy can include the caring for, riding, training, observing and interacting with horses to support a variety of mental health conditions from alcoholism and addiction to depression and disordered eating. Studies have indicated its effectiveness across age groups; adolescents with depression and anxiety have shown a 60% improvement in symptoms after a 12-week programme, while 80% of veterans with PTSD reported a significant reduction in symptoms. Interacting with horses creates a non-judgmental environment for self-expression and has been shown to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and decrease stress, whilst improving interpersonal skills, enhancing self-esteem and confidence, and increasing mindfulness and presence.