Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide with nearly 1 in 6 deaths attributed to the disease according to the World Health Organization. In the US, over a billion new cases are projected to be diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths estimated based on the 2017 statistics of the American Cancer Society. There are many forms of cancer treatment including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Animal therapy or equine therapy is a form of complementary treatment for cancer patients to help them through their cancer journey.
The benefits of horse therapy on the patient are enormous at both the physical and psychological levels. Riding horses helps build stamina, improves balance & coordination and strengthens muscles. This benefits patients who are weakened by the disease and treatments. Interacting with horses whether stroking or grooming provides a welcome diversion from the gloom and despair of the disease. Horse therapy builds self-confidence and allows patients to take control of their lives. It helps them heal emotionally and spiritually. Details of how horses can help cancer sufferers are explained in this article.