Post-traumatic stress disorder is a difficult obstacle to overcome. But, it is possible take the reigns of your life and guide your way back to recovery through equine therapy. Horses may help you find happiness again. 

Here's what you need to know about post-traumatic stress disorder and ways to heal through equine therapy.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that will affect 1 in 3 returning troops, according to PTSD Foundation of America. A person may experience PTSD after being involved in or witnessing a traumatic and life-changing event. Everyday occurrences can trigger PTSD. A startling event may cause sufferers to think they're back in a hostile combat zone and are under attack.   

Some soldiers, but not all, may experience PTSD, according to PTSD Foundation of America. The chances of developing this disorder varies based on the intensity of the occurrence, how well you were able to react or handle the situation or the support you received after the initial traumatic experience. Some signs that indicate PTSD include nightmares of the event, being reminded of the event during certain situations or feeling negatively or fearful because of what happened.

If you are diagnosed with PTSD, there are ways to cope with this disorder and get better. One way is through horse therapy.

What is equine therapy?
Equine therapy is the interaction between a person and a horse. By caring for a horse, people who are dealing with issues like PTSD, are able to learn about themselves through each action they take to care for the horse like feeding them, giving them water, riding them or tacking them up, according to Everyday Health. People who have PTSD can finally start to feel calm and have more confidence in themselves because of these responsibilities and due to the animal's demeanor.

How can horses help heal veterans with PTSD?
Veterans who have PTSD may be able to relate to horses that also sometimes feel sensitive or scared of everyday occurrences, according to Everyday Health. Veterans who are handling horses for the first time may be stepping out of their comfort zone as well.

"By interacting with horses, people with PTSD will often see their own emotional state mirrored in the reactions of the horse which they are working," Manette Monroe, MD, MEd, an assistant dean for students and an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando, told Everyday Health.

The symptoms of PTSD may not completely go away through horse therapy, however, they may subside.  Participating in these exercises with the horses is therapeutic and can help to control anxiety and emotions that may otherwise feel out of control, the Denver Post mentioned.

Jeanne Springer, an equine specialist at the academy's Equestrian Center, told the Denver Post that people experiencing PTSD, "tend to isolate because they have learned to numb their emotions…The horses help them relax."

Horses are sensitive animals and though sometimes they don't always listen right away, this is a wonderful lesson veterans can learn, the Denver Post mentioned. Because horses respond to positive energy, whoever is taking the reigns must demonstrate a great deal of patience, discipline and a calm demeanor.