My love and passion for horses started when I was 2 years old. I feel horses have the ability to heal various emotional and physical issues as well as prevent them, should one be lucky enough to be around them from a young age. I have often prescribed equine therapy for patients and have a few places that I recommend them to go. I literally write it as a prescription for them to show the instructor or the horse owner about what they are trying to accomplish.
I myself own 2 horses that live in my facility at my home. I ride and handle them daily and require my children to help me with them and ride them as well. I have seen tremendous improvements in my childrens’ athleticism from riding at such a young age. I have also noticed their emotional confidence as a result of the therapeutic effects horses have on people.
It has been a dream of mine to provide this type of therapy myself to my patients and perhaps I will someday.
Here are some common terms used in the field of equine therapy:
Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) includes a range of therapies that comprise activities with horses to promote human physical and mental health. The use of EAT has roots in antiquity and has been used as a form of treatment in certain circumstances since the 1960’s. applies to physical health issues in modern form dates to the 1960s.
Various therapies that involve interactions with horses are used for individuals with and without special needs, including those with physical, cognitive and emotional issues.
The following terms are often used to describe different types of EAT
· Therapeutic horseback riding uses a therapeutic team, usually including a certified therapeutic riding instructor, two or more volunteers, and a horse, to help an individual ride a horse and work with it on the ground.
· Hippotherapy involves an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, or a speech and language therapist working with a client and a horse. Different movements of the horse present challenges to the client to promote different postural responses of the client by the horse influencing the client rather than the client controlling the horse. The word "Hippotherapy" is also used in some contexts to refer to a broader realm of equine therapies.
· Equine-assisted learning (EAL) is described as an "experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills ... through equine-assisted activities."
· Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) does not necessarily involve riding, but may include grooming, feeding and ground exercises. Mental health professionals work with one or more clients and one or more horses in an experiential manner to help the clients learn about themselves and others, while processing or discussing the client's feelings, behaviors, and patterns. The goal is to help the client in social, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral ways. Other terms for equine psychotherapy include Equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP), equine-assisted therapy (EAT), Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW), Equine Facilitated Counseling (EFC) and Equine Facilitated Mental Health (EFMH).
Equine therapy is a broad field utilizing dozens of different therapeutic techniques that can be tailored for each individual. For many, equine therapy can be life-changing. If you're interested in exploring equine therapy, we encourage you to reach out to local organizations and find a facility that's the right fit for you.