Equestrian Mental HealthLisa WeissTrauma

Horse Injuries: Coping with the Unknown

A close up of a horse’s eye for Brave Minds Psychological Services. Learn more about the help equine therapy for trauma in Branchburg can offer by contacting a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ. Search for equestrian therapist Branchburg, NJ for more info.

A horse stands in a field while licking its leg. Learn how equine therapy for trauma in Branchburg can offer support with horseback riding anxiety in Scotch Plains, NJ. Search for a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ to learn more about equestrian therapy Branchburg, NJ and more. You show up to the barn, only to find your horse three-legged lame. A million scenarios run through your mind. Was he kicked in turnout? Did he slip and fall in the mud? Is it just a hoof abscess? Your brain goes into overdrive. In that moment, everything else in life goes out the window. Protecting your horse and his well-being is the only priority. While this shows the incredible amount of love you have for your horse, this can truly take a toll on your own mental well-being. Being in the mix of the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of your horse is tiring. It’s important to take care of yourself so you can be present and have the energy to help with his healing. 

Have a Support Team

Having a team of people you trust during this time is crucial. If your horse is injured, this of course would include your vet and other equine professionals such as your trainer, farrier, chiropractor, etc. It’s also important to have friends and family to help support your own mental well-being during this time. While friends and family may not understand the complexity of the situation, they care for you and can provide other support. 

Know Your Boundaries

Even with your incredibly supportive team, you may get conflicting advice. We often lean on trainers, barn managers, and other boarders for feedback. While your trainer may suggest one course of action, your barn manager may have an opposing view. It’s so complicated when you are on the receiving end of what feels like too many ways of handling the situation. Your brain is already in overdrive because you’re worried about your horse. 

Take an intentional pause and consider all options. 

Know that you get to make the decisions because your horse is your horse

And what if one person on your support team gets upset because you decided to try an opposing course of action? Remember your autonomy and boundaries. These decisions are yours to be made based on what you think is best for your horse. Don’t make decisions based on guilt from others. Instead, trust your gut! 

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

A close up of a chalkboard with the words self-care on it. Learn more about the support a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ can offer support with learning self care practices. Search for support with horseback riding anxiety in Scotch Plains, NJ and other services by searching for “equestrian therapist branchburg, nj” today.While you want to be with your horse every waking moment during this time, you have to take breaks for yourself. With stress and anxiety, it can be easy to skip meals and not drink enough water. You’re not doing yourself or your horse any favors by neglecting your own mental and physical well-being. If you’re not sleeping, eating, and hydrating, you’re putting yourself at risk for not being able to be there for him. If you need to reframe it: by taking care of you, you’re taking care of him!

Find Healthy Ways to Cope

In times of stress, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of coping. While there are plenty of unhealthy coping skills that help you feel better quickly, it’s not a viable long-term solution. For example, instead of grabbing an alcoholic drink to help calm your nerves at the end of a long day at the barn, opt for something else that will help slow down your nervous system, but without the negative long-term effect on your health. A healthier option may be a warm cup of coffee or tea and taking a few long, deep breaths. Allow yourself to be grounded by being mindful of each of your senses. 

Know That Trauma Triggers Trauma

It’s not uncommon for old trauma memories to come bubbling back up to the surface in times of stress and overwhelm. Even if these memories are seemingly unrelated to the horse-related trauma. This can add compounded stress to the already overwhelming situation with your horse. Know that this is normal, and tends to happen more often when our stress bubbles over. 

Reach Out for Help 

A woman smiles while sitting across from a woman with a clipboard. Learn more about equine therapy for trauma in Branchburg and other services to support you. Search for horseback riding anxiety in Scotch Plains, NJ, or contact a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ.Horse people are tough. We pride ourselves on handling situations all on our own. However, it’s important to know and recognize when it’s time to reach out to a mental health professional. If you feel like your typical ways of coping are not helping or you feel your emotions intensifying or symptoms worsening, it may be time to reach out to help. Reaching out for help does not mean you are weak, it is a sign of strength. It’s important to lean on others during this difficult time while you’re caring for your horse. 

Interested in Equestrian Therapy? Contact a Trauma Therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ

Our team can provide a safe space for you in your journey to healing. Our therapists know the ins and outs of equestrian sport culture and are here to help you process it all with equestrian therapy in New Jersey. We have options for your care, including in-person sessions at our Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ counseling offices. Or if you prefer, we can meet with you virtually using online therapy in New Jersey and Florida. To get started, follow the steps below.

  1. Connect with us at Brave Minds Psychological Services.
  2. Meet with one of our counselors to discuss equestrian therapy in a free consultation.
  3. Connect with yourself and your sport today.


Image of Lisa Weiss, LSW, Equestrian Anxiety Therapist at Brave Minds Psychological Services. She is a trauma therapist in Scotch Plains, NJ and does equestrian therapy in New Jersey. 07076