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Camilla and Ragnar offer equine therapy.

Stall Ragnar

Camilla Carcary (52) and Ragnar Kjærnes (54) offer equine therapy.

Carcary's Therapy Horse Clinic is located in Norway, close to Oslo. It is part of Stall-Ragnar (Ragnar Stable), and together with her husband Ragnar Kjærnes (54), Camilla has opened a new service where they offer equine therapy (horse-assisted therapy). They previously offered horse-assisted activities. The forest is right next door, with miles of beautiful riding trails for horses. They are previously known for offering guided horseback riding, various horse and carriage assignments, and riding lessons. They also collaborate with other stables.

Camilla works as a pedagogical-psychological advisor in Viken Municipality. She has specialist training in child and adolescent mental health with a focus on cognitive behavioral therapy. She has also completed a one-year study of animal-assisted interventions at the Norwegian University og Life Sciences. "I have been involved with horses since I was a little girl, and it has been a passion for as long as I can remember. The horses are trained with good knowledge of horse behavior and "language," and for me, the horse is a catalyst in the therapy room. We create a space where people can be more open and talk to each other."

Thriving on horseback

It all started with Christian. He has been riding with Camilla for many years and he has continued to come there ever since. This weekend he came with environmental workers Lars and Hilde.

Christian has been riding regularly for many years and loves being on horseback. He likes to pick up a little speed and enjoys brushing the horse afterwards. "This is one of the activities Christian doesn't want to finish quickly. It also seems to be calming for him," Lars explains.

Therapy with horses

Good interaction

Mother Anne speaks warmly about the service her son participates in.

"We see that he feels safe on horseback. There is a kind of interaction between horse and rider that gives a good feeling and develops everything in body and soul."

Anne says that many groups could benefit from such an offer. Whether it is small or large challenges.

The equine therapy strengthens self-confidence.

Camilla has just started offering the service. She sees it as a way to reach out to children, youths, or adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts. She also has experience with the horse being able to strengthen self-confidence.

"If you have low self-confidence or struggle to set your own boundaries, working with the horse can strengthen your self-confidence because you have to dare to set boundaries. It is good for your self-esteem."

She also explains that the horse does not judge you for who you are, your history, or what clothes you are wearing.

The horse as a therapist

Camilla and Ragnar approach users in different ways and according to their needs.

"Some people find it okay to brush and groom the horse while we talk. Others like to ride while I walk alongside them and talk."

Some learn to be calm with the animals and to breathe right with deep and calm breathing. Ragnar shows how the user lies down on their stomach on the horse's back and feels the horse's breath.

"They follow the horse's breath and breathe together with the horse," says Camilla.

Close contact with the large animal helps users to register their whole body and gradually relate to it. The pulse slows down and the horse's calmness is transferred to the user.

Equine therapy, breathing with the horse

The pandemic has also hit Stall Ragnar.

"All carriage assignments came to a sudden end, but now it has started to pick up a bit again and more people have come back for wedding carriage rides," says Ragnar.

Something very special he was able to participate in during this time was to drive a horse and carriage during the filming of last year's Christmas calendar on NRK a norwegian television channel.

"I was the one who drove the family in the story. It was a lot of fun to be a part of it."

Horses at Stall Ragnar

Good self-therapy

They have several horses on the farm. The horses they use are of the Døle and Gypsy Cob breeds. The therapy horses Miss. Fryd and Madame are of the Gypsy Cob breed. The therapy horses are approved and assessed by ICofA - the international Community of Anthrozoology and they are committed to ensuring that the horses are safe to work with.

"They have become our good partners and colleagues," they say.

"How do you experience the horse yourself, do you relax on horseback?", we ask Camilla.

"Horses are good self-therapy for me.** When I've been at work all day, it's a great way to get my mind off of things and be physically active. I have to go out every single day," concludes Camilla Carcary.

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