Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
Our EAP Program involves equine activities setup and facilitated by a licensed mental health professional and a horse professional. These activities are most often performed on the ground (rather than riding) and include such things as brushing, haltering and leading the horse. During the process of working with the horse, the therapist and the client engage in talk therapy, processing feelings, behaviors and patterns. The ultimate goal is to build skills such as personal responsibility assertiveness, non-verbal communications, self-confidence and self-control. This therapy is thought to be an effective short-term therapeutic approach addressing a number of mental health problems including:
- ADD/ADHD PTSD
- Behavioral Issues
- Depression and Anxiety
- Low Self Esteem
- Eating Disorders
- Domestic Abuse
equine assisted learning (EAL)
EAL is also groundwork centered, interactive learning in the dynamic presence of horses. Unlike horseback riding instruction or therapeutic riding, EAL emphasizes the non-verbal relationship between horse and human. Participants are encouraged to closely observe and interact with the horse on the ground in a paddock. This groundwork is the basis for most basic horse training and is an essential element in establishing a relationship with the horse. EAL is particularly effective with exceptional students, those with learning disabilities, and those at risk of dropping out of school. It presents participants of all ages with interactive challenges designed to:
- Improve communications skills
- Recognize and build on strengths
- Comprehend respect, trust and honesty
- Enrich relationships and teamwork
- Utilize critical thinking, planning and problem-solving skills
veteran equine assisted therapy
Equine assisted psychotherapy is an emerging form of therapeutic intervention in which horses are used as tools for clients to gain self-understanding and emotional growth. Equine assisted psychotherapy is a type of animal assisted therapy, a field of mental health that recognizes the bond between animals and humans and the potential for emotional healing that can occur when a relationship is formed between the two species.
Why use horses for therapy? One reason is because horses need a lot of care. A veteran can put aside his or her own troubles in the immediate job of caring for the horse. Horses are large and strong, which challenges a person to overcome his fear in order to work with the animal. Horses mirror moods, too; they respond negatively to negative emotions, teaching the veteran that his behavior can affect others, and making it necessary to modify behavior in order to work successfully with the animal.
Much can be learned from simply observing horse behavior. Horses can be stubborn or defiant, playful or moody. They have a variety of "herd dynamics" such as pushing, kicking, biting, squealing, grooming one another, and grazing together. In the process of describing the horse and the interactions between the horses, clients can learn about themselves and their own family dynamics.
Equine assisted therapy is thought to be an effective short-term therapeutic approach for both individuals and families, addressing a number of mental health problems, including behavioral issues, depression and anxiety, low self esteem, eating disorders, ADD/ADHD, post traumatic stress disorder, and relationship problems. While there is a need for research to support anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of Equine assisted psychotherapy, this type of animal assisted therapy is slowly gaining support among mental health professionals.
We welcome any veteran suffering from an emotional issue to come to one of our events. Veterans are always welcome to assist with our program.
adaptive riding and therapeutic horsemanship
Therapeutic horseback riding is the use of horses and equine-assisted activities in order to achieve goals that enhance physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral and educational skills for people who have disabilities. It not only focuses on the therapeutic riding skills but also the development of a relationship between horse and rider with the guidance of an instructor.
The amount of benefit gained through therapeutic riding differs from person to person based on many factors such as the type of disability, severity of the disability, motivation of the rider and connection between horse and rider.
There are many benefits to therapeutic horseback riding. Some of the benefits include:
⦁ Improved balance and muscle strength
⦁ Improved coordination
⦁ Increased muscular control
⦁ Improved postural control
⦁ Decreased spasticity
⦁ Increased range of motion of joints
⦁ Stretching of tight or spastic muscles
⦁ Improved visual-spatial perception
⦁ Improved gross and fine motor skills
⦁ Improved self confidence
⦁ Increased self-esteem and self-image
⦁ Development of patience
⦁ Emotional control and self-discipline
⦁ Expansion of locus of control
⦁ Socialization and improved interpersonal skills
⦁ Increased perception of quality of life and life satisfaction
⦁ Stress reduction