What is Equine Therapy?

Equine Therapy (also referred to as Horse Therapy, Equine-Assisted Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy) is a form of experiential therapy that involves interactions between a therapy provider, a horse specialist, a client/clients and horses. It can be delivered individually and in groups. Equine Therapy involves activities (such as grooming, feeding, haltering and leading a horse) that are supervised by a mental health professional and a horse professional. Both during the activity and after the client has finished working with the horse, the equine therapist can observe and interact with the client in order to identify behaviour patterns and process thoughts and emotions. The goal of equine therapy is to help the client develop needed skills and attributes, such as emotion regulation, confidence, relationship skills, responsibility, self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and self-control. Equine therapy also provides space in which the mental health therapist and the client can identify and address a range of emotional and behavioural challenges through the observations of the equine specialist.


What are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

Studies have indicated that equine therapy has been successful in helping patients show marked improvements in the following areas:

  • Assertiveness
  • Emotional awareness
  • Empathy
  • Stress tolerance
  • Flexibility
  • Impulse control
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Self-actualization
  • Independence
  • Self-regard
  • Social responsibility
  • Interpersonal relationships

Many of the benefits of equine therapy are likely due to the nature of the animals with which the client, mental health practitioner and equine therapist are interacting. Horses are typically non-judgmental, have no preconceived expectations or motives, and are highly effective at mirroring attitudes and behaviours of the humans with whom they are working. While working with horses under the guidance and supervision of an equine therapist and a mental health practitioner, equine therapy clients have a unique and effective opportunity to note their tendency to engage in self-defeating and otherwise negative thoughts and actions. These realizations provide excellent bases for discussion and processing both during and after the equine therapy experience


What are the Roles in Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is delivered in a team approach. A therapist, an equine specialist, a horse and a client are part of the team. Your own therapist can be part of this process or you can engage with a therapist from South Coast Psychology. You will work through activities with the horse and your therapist under the guidance of the equine specialist. Your therapist discusses the therapy, before, during and after the session. The equine specialist manages safety, the horses, and provides the activities and makes observations and feeds these back to facilitate discussion and awareness. The horse, a highly sensitive animal, is an emotional mirror assisting people to reflect on managing their own aspects of self.


Who is Our Equine Specialist?

Jim Gillespie - 027 466 0245

Equine Therapy Manager

[email protected]

Info to come