Equine therapy is becoming more popular across the country thanks to its countless benefits. Equine therapy is designed to boost trust, reduce stress, and help with anxiety. It can be used by anyone dealing with anxious thoughts, depression, PTSD, or a host of other mental health conditions.

By owning an equine therapy business, you can enjoy a few benefits, too. It’s a great way to build certain skills, overcome challenges, and boost your confidence – as well as the confidence of your clients.

However, there are a few things you should know and prepare for before getting into equine therapy. Let’s cover a few of the basics so you can develop a complete understanding of how to serve your community and start with a strong foundation.

Maintain Your Horse Property

There are a few things you’ll need before becoming an equine counselor. First, you need the space and facilities. If you want to turn your horse property into a profitable business, it will need to be clean, run efficiently, and you’ll need to have enough horses and staff members to meet the needs of your clients. It’s also important to make sure your horses are healthy and safe. Consider working with a pest control company to ensure your property is free of rodents and insects that could harm horses or guests, and make sure they’re using chemicals and substances that won’t put your horses at risk.

Once you have things properly cleaned and well-maintained, it’s a good idea to keep a maintenance schedule and hire people who can help to ensure everything is kept in top shape. Your maintenance routine will vary depending on the size of your property and your needs, but it should include things like:

  • Mowing the pasture
  • Replenishing stockpiles
  • Fertilizing the grass
  • Checking water supply

Remember, when you get into equine therapy, you’re not just a horse property – you’re a business. You’ll want people to feel comfortable and relaxed there, which starts with a well-maintained property that is marketable, functional, and offers positivity and tranquility all around.

Obtain the Proper Certifications

Once you know your property is properly set up, it’s time to get certified. No matter how good you are with horses and/or people, you can’t start an equine therapy business without the proper paperwork involved. There are a few requirements before you get started. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete PATH certification
  • Be CPR-certified
  • Take online standard courses and pass necessary exams

Once you’re fully trained and have enough experience, it’s a good rule of thumb to get the necessary permits and licensing for your business. Talk to your local government authority to obtain the right permits for zoning and business ownership, and to ensure your business will be compliant with all local laws and regulations.

Finally, make sure you know your horses. It’s one thing to be PATH certified and have experience as a riding instructor. But, every horse is different and they may not all match up with the specific needs of every rider. You need to work on being in tune with your horses and their temperaments. That’s something that no piece of paper will provide, but it’s just as essential as any certification.

Understanding the Highs and Lows

Equine therapy can be beneficial for both you and your clients. It’s a fantastic way to build your self-esteem while giving back to others. Low self-esteem can cause problems like envy, unrealistic expectations, and fear. As the rider-horse relationship grows, so does a person’s self-esteem. That’s especially true for someone who doesn’t have experience with horses. You’ll love seeing your clients light up as they experience the freedom and relaxation of therapeutic riding.

The potential challenges that come with equine therapy often stem from the horses themselves. You’ll want to make sure you’re not overworking your horses. After all, they’re playing the role of “therapist” in this business. You might have the certifications needed, and you might even have counseling experience. But, your clients are there to ride. Make sure you’re giving your horses enough rest time, and keep track of their attitudes to determine if/when they want to ride.

It’s also important to manage your own expectations. Equine therapy can help with a variety of mental health conditions and is even sometimes used in addiction recovery. However, it’s not for everyone, and it certainly isn’t a “quick fix” for those who are seriously struggling with their mental well-being. The more realistic you are with your expectations, the easier it will be to explain the benefits to your clients without promising them something that may not happen.

If you’re interested in getting into equine therapy, do your research. It can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling way to utilize your horse property and your abilities, but make sure you know the ins and outs of what to expect for the sake of your own well-being, as well as the health of your horses and potential clients.


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