The Wider Image: Horse whisperer helps stress sufferers
MADRID (Reuters) - In the Guadalix mountains outside Madrid, Argentine horse whisperer Fernando Noailles uses his animals to help people suffering from stress and anxiety.
The 57-year-old, who spent many years in the Patagonian wilderness living with horses, uses the animals as a way for patients to interpret and control their emotions.
People who come to his sessions spend time with the horses and learn through the movement of the animal what mental state they themselves are in, says Noailles, who charges up to 120 euros per session.
"The horse is a mirror," he says. "They are gregarious creatures, born to live in herds."
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The therapy consists in monitoring how the horse responds to the client's moods. From watching the horse's reaction, the client learns how to identify and control emotions, he says.
"People in the first session, when they are in a difficult state of mind, see a horse that doesn't stop, that moves, that even gallops. The horse is showing you a mind that doesn't stop, that is tormented," he says.
Loreto Garcia has spent two years in sessions with Noailles to help her cope with stress.
"Fernando sees the reaction of the horse - he can tell if I'm centered in the moment, how I feel. He uses the horse as a guide to let him know how the session is going," she says.
(Reporting by Juan Medina; Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Hugh Lawson)