Understanding Trauma + Therapy Through A Rider’s Experience

Understanding Trauma + Therapy Through A Rider’s Experience

If you’re in the horse world long enough, you or someone you know will probably experience trauma. For almost all of us, it has been – or will be – a part of life and the horse world is no exception. And horse people are really, really good at trying to ignore it or “tough it out”. 

Many of us can miss the signs of it or feel confused about why we’re feeling overwhelmed, or irritable, or can’t sleep, or just don’t feel like ourselves. Horse people value grit and toughness and think that means ignoring those feelings and signs. But here’s the thing: healing from trauma will improve your experience as a rider… and as a human. 

What is trauma? Where do we begin? 

In this episode host Caroline Culbertson is joined by Lisa Weiss, LCSW, and Meredith Varie, an amateur hunter-jumper rider. Through the lens of Meredith’s experience, we explore: 

  • What trauma is and how it affects the brain
  • The symptoms of trauma to look out for 
  • Meredith’s experience with trauma evolving into more complex and very concerning symptoms
  • Why we can’t rely on white-knuckling our way through trauma 
  • Talk therapy vs EMDR for trauma
  • What happens in a therapy session, how to get started, and how to break up with your therapist if it’s not working out
  • How medication can factor into the equation (sometimes, but not always)

Note: if you’re looking for therapy and need help navigating the process, MiResource is an excellent place to start. Founded by an equestrian, too! If you or someone you know is in crisis, please go to https://988lifeline.org/