When the horse help the man to heal

News 4 February, 2018
  • Photo Dominique Lelièvre
    Mélanie Tremblay has resorted to the therapeutic riding to overcome a breakup, and difficulties at work. The instructor André Rochefort explains that at the contact of his horses, as Samick, on the photo, customers are regaining their confidence in themselves and regain a taste for life.

    Dominique Lelièvre

    Sunday, 4 February, 2018 00:00

    Sunday, 4 February, 2018 00:00

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    LA MALBAIE | After you have used horses for years to come in helping young people in difficulty, a trainer of Charlevoix wishes to now use it to treat adults.

    In the last fifteen years, André Rochefort has hosted in its stable of hundreds of children and adolescents with learning difficulties, disorder of the autism spectrum or mental disability.

    “We realized that the children who had trouble asserting himself, who arrived at the camp, while small, stood out at the end smiling, just happy. We wondered what was happening, why the children were smiling, proud of them, ” recalls the co-owner of the equestrian Center nature, to La Malbaie.

    The contact with the horse, and simple exercises can improve the self-esteem, confidence or even the ability of a person to assert himself, found the instructor in equitherapy.

    “Many parents told us that it would be nice to have something similar for themselves “, says he. Since the fall, the program “My horse healer” is aimed specifically at adults, in addition to camps for children who continue.

    A first cohort has already helped a dozen participants to tame their fears, overcome relationship difficulties or learn to live with the grief.

    “The therapist is the horse “

    “We, what we say here, is that the therapist is the horse,” says the partner of Mr. Rochefort, François Desjardins, who has made a career in mental health intervention.

    “Obviously, there is no substitute for a psychologist, he says. If someone is in depression, we are going to tell him to go see his doctor, his psychologist, to take his medication and do his follow-up. We are going to get in complementarity “, he says.

    The sessions of the equestrian center is to be distinguished from the traditional riding where one often ” takes the horse as if one took a “four-wheeler” “, illustrates André Rochefort. In its stable, the horses are free of their movements and it is up to the rider to develop a relationship with him.

    “As soon as you put a leash on the horse, he knows he is attached and he no longer has the same behavior. If you leave it in the wild, it is you who are obliged to show the horse who is dominant, ” says the trainer.

    Thus, one of the exercises is simply to move the horse to establish his superiority over the animal.

    The reflexes acquired from its companion can then be transposed in everyday life, ” he continues.

    Defeat his ” tsunami “

    Mélanie Tremblay, one of the first to have “tested” the program of André Rochefort, says he has pulled many of the benefits of therapeutic riding. Her experience has even helped defeat “a tsunami, both on the side of the work on the personal level,” she said.

    “It was a way for me to regain my calm, I regain confidence, because the horse is very impressive ! […] So I learned to assert myself, to regain confidence in me, ” said the 34 year old woman, who was recovering at the time of a breach and of organizational changes at work, in the middle of the health.