“Equine-assisted therapy (EAP) is a specialized form of psychotherapy using the horse as a therapeutic tool. Horses have several characteristics that are similar to humans in their behavioural responses and social structures, thus providing a mirror for the client to gain insight in a unique and non-threatening environment. The horse is a large, powerful animal that commands respect and elicits fear. Overcoming these obstacles and building a relationship promotes confidence, relationship skills and problem-solving skills. Equine-assisted therapy is designed to address self-esteem and personal confidence, communication and interpersonal effectiveness, trust, boundaries and limit-setting, and group cohesion (Kersten & Thomas 2000).
For children, EAP has all the benefits of play therapy as well as experiential learning. This type of therapy provides opportunities for the child to identify and understand personal emotions, develop empathy, develop a sense of responsibility, learn to problem solve, and to succeed in new undertakings (Kersten & Thomas 2000).”
This is an excerpt from © 2006 The Authors, Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
I have had quite a few emails requesting information on what I am learning here in Colorado. I thought it a good idea to direct readers to sites that had established research but found it a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. That article can be read in its entirety at: Equine Assisted Therapy
Beyond their physical beauty and gentle nature, horses may have a powerful therapeutic effect on people.
In a study published in Society and Animals, researchers found that participants that engaged in therapy that involved spending time with horses reported experiencing less distress and an enhanced sense of well-being that lingered for as long as six months after treatment.
Talk about horsepower!”
~ Terri Trespicio
Prevention Magazine, September 2012
Another great article is on the U.S. Department of Defense website concerning wounded warriors/ returning veterens: Horse Therapy Helps Veterans Break Through PTSD
I hope this is helpful to all those who have asked and to those who were curious but didn’t ask.
I think we are just beginning to understand how healing can manifest through our relationships with animals.