What is Equine Assisted Psycho-Therapy?
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. Because of its intensity and effectiveness, it is considered a short-term, or "brief" approach.
Not all programs or individuals who use horses practice Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. For one, licensed (in the U.S.) and properly qualified (outside the U.S.) mental health professionals need to be involved. The focus of EAP is not riding or horsemanship. The focus of EAP involves setting up ground activities involving the horses which will require the client or group to apply certain skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, work, taking responsibility, teamwork and relationships, confidence, and attitude are several examples of the tools utilized and developed by EAP.
What is Equine Assisted Learning?
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is similar to EAP but where the focus is on learning or educational goals. EAL still involves the team of mental health professional and horse professional working with the clients and horses. However, the focus is on education and learning specific skills as defined by the individual or group, such as improved product sales for a company, leadership skills for a school group, or resiliency training for our military warriors.
What is Therapeutic Riding? What is PATH?
Therapeutic Riding includes any mounted equine activity taught by a PATH International Certified Instructor. Generally, students are individuals with disabilities or diverse needs. Students may learn traditional riding disciplines or participate in adaptive riding activities designed to accommodate their specific challenges.
PATH is the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. It is an international organization that governs and sets the standards within the industry for equine assisted activities and therapy. For more information, you can visit PATH’s website at www.pathintl.org.
What are the Benefits of Therapeutic Riding?
As students learn riding skills, they may experience a wide range of benefits, including:
Improved balance, flexibility, strength, muscle control, and eye-hand coordination
Greater self-confidence, independence, patience, emotional control, self-discipline, and problem solving skills
Development of friendships
Mutual respect and a sense of responsibility
Exposure to a broad range of experiences and activities
A sense of normality
Fun, relaxation, and a general sense of well-being
What is EAGALA?
Founded in 1999, the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) is the leading international nonprofit association for professionals using equine therapy to address mental health and human development needs.
The EAGALA Model provides a standard and structure for providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning sessions. Practicing within a model establishes a foundation of key values and beliefs, and provides a basis of good practice and professionalism. The EAGALA Model provides a framework of practice, but within that framework, there are infinite opportunities for creativity and adaptability to various therapeutic and facilitating styles.
For more information on Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association visit their website at www.eagala.org.
What is HIPPO Therapy?
Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes the dynamic movement of the horse to achieve therapy goals. This type of treatment is effective because the gentle, rhythmic movement of the horse simulates human walking. The term Hippotherapy comes from the Greek work "Hippo" which means horse.
What are the benefits of Hippo therapy?
Improved muscle strength
Increased fine motor skills
Awareness of one's body in space
Improved range of motion
How does a program become equine assisted certified?
In order to provide therapeutic services involving horses a program must be certified. There are various therapy associations which provide certification for equine therapy. It is important that when choosing a program that you ask if the program is certified. Several levels of certification exists among various certifying groups.