“Like humans, horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with
another, and with the same horse, may not work on other days. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They also like to have fun.
“Horses are not impressed with recovery-talk or good intentions. You must earn the trust and respect from a horse. Horses naturally pick up on internal struggles and they know immediately if we are not being "real" (Horses and Heroes.org).
Whereas, dogs, the 2nd most common therapy animal, will love unconditionally, a horse and human relationship is built on mutual respect and trust, and deepens over time.
Many people who come, such as children from foster homes, have never had the experience of a human relationship like this so the horse connection becomes their first mutually respectful relationship. The horse teaches the person in this reciprocal relationship.
Most significantly, the horse is unique in its intuitive ability to mirror
human emotions. The horse is a prey animal who spends its entire life reading the environment for life-threatening danger. This gives the horse an amazing ability to read and reveal even subtle emotions allowing issues to be brought to light so they can now be discussed and progress made.