Also known as Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) or Horse Therapy, Equine Therapy is a treatment that includes equine activities with horses in order to promote emotional growth in persons suffering from abuse issues, behavioral issues, and many other mental health problems. Equine therapy can help a patient build trust, confidence, communication, socializing and much more. It is known that horses have similar behaviors with humans making it easy for patients to create a connection with the horse.
Therapeutic riding was first introduced into the United States and Canada in 1960 as a form of recreation as well as therapeutic benefits. In 1999, the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) was formed with a focus on the potential emotional and mental health benefits of equine therapy for drug abuse.
Other animals are also used for therapeutic purposes such as dogs, cats, dolphins, etc… but horses have become the most popular animal to use in animal therapy because they are very intuitive to the handler or a rider’s actions and give feedback and mirror the feelings of a handler or rider. When a patient works with a horse in a therapeutic setting, they immediately see how the horse reacts to their mood which helps identify behaviors that are potentially hurtful and opens up awareness of positive methods to assert themselves.
Why Equine Therapy?
Most of us have seen how spending time with pets can reduce stress, relieve pain and help cheer someone up. The same can be said of a horse. Spending time with a horse can provide a positive experience for a patient to focus on. Over the course of our Lumiere rehabs in Ohio equine therapy, patients learn to treat the horse responsibly and maintain a regular schedule. As patients continue to work in equine therapy, they gain their self-confidence and begin to form a bond that leads to healing.
Benefits of Horse Therapy in Addiction Treatment
Patients who have participated in equine therapy have acquired important skills that can be carried over into their personal lives. Equine therapy offers many benefits such as:
- Improved Communication
- Improved Relationships
How Equine Therapy Works
Typically, a certified equine therapist leads the therapy sessions, which are interactions between the patient and the horse. These interactions generally can include petting, therapeutic riding, vaulting, and even carriage driving. Depending on the program one or more of these choices may be available. As a patient interacts with the horse, a therapist will monitor how the patient reacts to a horses behavior, from there the therapist will be able to develop a more clear idea of the areas of struggle on a personal or interpersonal level.
If you have any questions regarding addiction treatment or equine therapy, please contact Lumiere Healing Centers today at 513-909-2225.