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WHAT IS EQUINE-ASSISTED THERAPY

Q:   What is Equine-Assisted Therapy ?

     Children and adults regardless of age, may benefit from Equine-Assisted Therapy. This emerging type of animal-assisted therapy recognizes that using the strong bond that develops between a human and a horse offers the potential for healing or moderating a number of behavioral, emotional and mental health problems.

     Rather than riding, Equine-Assisted Therapy is usually performed on the ground. While absorbed in working, grooming, feeding, watering and walking the horse, the individual is also reacting to the actions, needs and moods of this large, complex animal. And visa-versa. A horses Is a “prey” animals and very sensitive to human emotions and actions, causing those around them to modify their behavior in order to be effective in handling them.

     A therapist and/or therapeutic riding instructor can exploit these interactions to address behavioral, emotional and mental health problems. The goal is to build skills like personal responsibility, non-verbal communication, self-esteem, confidence and self-control.

     Why a horse? For one reason, a horse needs lots of care which leads to development of physical, cognitive and emotional skills in the client. And overcoming fear of working with a large animal builds courage and confidence.

     Equine-Assisted Therapy is becoming an effective approach to a number of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders, ADD/ADHD, PTS and interpersonal relationships.

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