New Horse Therapy Gives Hope to Cancer Patients: Study

Based on assumption that regular horse ride or getting in touch with a horse could radically improve the physical and psychological well-being of patients, a new horse therapy has become popular now. Horses give patients a sense of empowerment and a path to peace and tranquility.

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man,” said Winston Churchill once and it was long recognized the value of horses and healing going back to the time of the ancient Greece and Hippocrates.

Every year, millions of cancer patients are diagnosed. Often they feel helpless, and now a new type of therapy is gaining recognition. Known as ‘equine’ therapy, it involves regular contact with a horse. This contact with a horse has been shown to radically improve the overall health of patients. See Horses Help Cancer Patients

Two Nokota horses standing in open grassland with rolling hills and trees visible in the background.

Two Nokota horses standing in open grassland with rolling hills and trees visible in the background. (Photo: Creative Commons, François Marchal )

A study conducted by Cerulli and his team, took breast cancer patients who had completed their treatment and put them in contact with horses. Over 16 weeks, with 2 hours of contact a week, the patients felt their fitness levels had improved. They also felt stronger and psychologically sound.

This was achieved through simple equine contact, with no drugs involved, said researchers. It has enhanced quality of life of breast cancer survivors. The team suggested a new method for rehabilitation intervention strategies after cancer in a non-medical environment.

Essentially, horseback riding gives confidence and self-esteem, especially for patients who get a feeling of accomplishment, providing a much-needed distraction from the worry and angst over their condition, they said.


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