The Power of Equine Assisted Therapy

 Whether you own them, ride them, or just appreciate them, horse enthusiasts understand the power and companionship of their equine counterparts. The connection between human and horse is so powerful, in fact, that interaction through equine assisted learning or therapy has shown to provide tremendous physical, emotional, and social benefits.

What Is Horse Assisted Therapy? 

Horse therapy allows clients to face their fears and overcome seemingly unconquerable obstacles experientially with the help of a physically intimidating but peaceful animal. Clients work together with their horses to navigate specific treatment goals or to improve communication interpersonal dynamics in team building exercises. Each session varies based on what the client wants to accomplish and includes the collaboration of a licensed therapist and professional horse handler. In most cases, a session will focus on participatory learning followed by therapist-facilitated discussion or processing.

The Benefits of Horse Therapy

The primary beneficiaries of equine assisted therapy are people of all ages and backgrounds including families, youths, individuals, and groups. Studies also show, however, that the horses can benefit as well. Like humans, they are social creatures and thrive on companionship, which makes them perfectly suited for the role. Equine therapy has proven to be especially effective at treating conditions including:

  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Behavioral issues
  • Communication problems
  • Depression
  • Developmental needs
  • Eating disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • PTSD
  • Relationship problems
  • Many others.

Beyond mental health and behavioral issues, horse assisted therapy is also a great option for any businesses or coaches looking to add to their team building exercises.

How to Get Involved

Owners who understand the invaluable company a horse can provide are welcome to get their animals certified for the job. The process takes some advance planning, but is open to all who wish to apply. You will need to get your horse certified as well as enlist the involvement of a licensed mental health professional, which can all be coordinated through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.

Horses have myriad benefits for everyone, not just those who own them!

 

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