Why Use Horses?
Horses are naturally sensitive to human emotion, energy and behavior, so this makes them uniquely appropriate for therapy. Horses provide immediate non-verbal feedback, which is extremely beneficial because it allows individuals to have learning experiences that cannot be easily replicated in a traditional office setting.
Horses are large and social creatures that are non-judgmental and do not have an agenda, they just care if you are safe.
They are experts in providing feedback through their body language, using their ears, legs, tails, and mouth.
They are prey animals who are constantly aware of their surroundings and safety
They operate from the “survival brain,” using Fight, Flight, Freeze responses.
Horse’s brains are similar to a traumatized person’s brain
Traumatized individuals respond in the same manner as the horses, using their Fight, Flight, and Freeze responses
As the horse and person create a partnership, they develop new healthy patterns of behavior. These behaviors evolve into building a relationship.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential form of therapy that involves working with horses to address issues resulting from the traumatic effects of abuse, neglect, combat, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, chronic illness and other adverse life circumstances. People often develop negative coping mechanisms and unhealthy relationship patterns as a result of relational wounds. Similarly, horses are prey animals and spend a great deal of their time in their brainstem, or survival mode (fight, flight or freeze), much as trauma victims do. Horses will respond honestly and directly to whatever behaviors and internal states a client presents to them in the session, allowing the client to experience immediate and helpful feedback about the communication and relational patterns they create with the people in their lives. Horses provide opportunities to practice assertive communication, set boundaries, make requests, learn emotional regulation skills, and build trust and confidence in a mutual partnership. All of the skills used to build relationships with the horse are transferable to human relationships
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) offers experiential communication, teambuilding, and personal growth experiences to individuals, groups, families, and corporations. Equine nonverbal communication, herd behavior demonstrate successful interaction as an example for human relationships. Equine Assisted Learning is a valuable component of corporate retreats, teachers and school personnel, church group activities, and family workshops. EAL is not psychotherapy and does not require facilitation by a licensed mental health professional.
What do Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning sessions look like?
During a session individuals do activities with horses. These activities may include grooming, walking, building, creating, observing, or whatever is appropriate for the individual’s needs. Sessions are facilitated by two credentialed licensed professionals that support and observe the Human-Horse interactions. Throughout sessions individuals are given the opportunity to share what is happening for them and the horses in the moment.
The cost per hour long session is $130.00, which covers the facility fee, use of the horses, as well the certified therapist and horse professional fees. We do not bill insurance for EAP, but the same diagnostic and procedure codes are used for equine therapy as for traditional talk therapy, so you may submit the coded receipts you receive for your payment to your insurance company for potential reimbursement (subject to your plan’s deductible and other behavioral health coverage provisions).
Please contact our office if you have any questions about this type of therapy and whether it might be appropriate for you, your child, and/or your family.