Finding a therapy that works for you is an important step in taking care of your mental health. If that means painting ponies, then even better. That’s why we’re fascinated to learn about “ponypaint,” a type of “Art and Therapy service” at a place called Equine Therapy Wales in the UK.
“Ponypaint” involves using nontoxic paint made up of natural dyes and chalks so children can express themselves through art, explained horse owner Michelle Inch, who introduced the therapy at the center. In other words, it’s pretty much like having your own My Little Pony IRL
“In the world of dog grooming, they’ve always done the creative coloring, the nail polish and everything, so I’ve tried to introduce it into the horse world,” Michelle explained to ITV. “You get people saying that it’s cruel, but everything that’s made is completely non-toxic. It’s made for horses, and they don’t care. They just want to be pampered.”
Although Equine Therapy Wales only recently introduced “ponypaint” into their program, Instagram proves that the idea itself isn’t all that new. There’s already a business called Paint My Pony in the UK and rands like Equidivine focus on natural art products to help facilitate this bond between humans and their horses. The website for Chick’s Saddlery even sells “ponypaint” alongside glitter hoof polish.
There are all kinds of creative ways to decorate a horse’s skin:
Or even dye her tail a funky ombré:
Really, the possibilities for “ponypaint” are endless!
The best part about ponypaint? It’s effective. According to ITV, children like Jordan, who suffers from ADHD, have found peace in this particular type of therapy. “Day to day it’s a nightmare. We don’t know when it’s going to kick off next,” Jordan’s mother said. “By people down here it does help. Before he was was really really quiet, he wouldn’t open up at all.”
This doesn’t mean the practice is without controversy. Britain’s RSPCA (similar to the ASPCA in the United States) is concerned that the therapy will cause people to see horses as accessories.
However, if Instagram is to be believed, ponypaint has only made the bond between owner and horse even stronger — and that much more glamorous.