Equine Assisted Therapy

Individuals nationwide are reaping the benefits of equine therapy, including children, adults, vets, and the developmentally disabled. More specifically, equine therapy is defined as the use of a horse to help people progress in treatment, particularly when traditional treatment modalities have failed. Originally, equine therapy was used to help individuals with physical problems and is now being used internationally to also help with a variety of emotional problems. The results of equine therapy demonstrate increased trust, communication, self-esteem, and the ability of people to manage their emotions. The person-horse bond develops mutual trust, respect, affection, empathy, communication skills, and self-control. Additionally, the therapy involves using the skills of patience, understanding, attention, assertiveness, forgiveness, and consistency. Its application includes but is not limited to, anger management therapy. Renewed Hope Counseling provides a variety of equine-assisted activities both on and off the horse, to help people reach their goals.

Mounted activities include the therapist and client engaged in traditional talk therapy that processes feelings, challenges problem behaviors, and develops new coping strategies while the client is learning how to ride the horse. Research has indicated that people make more progress because they are motivated, want to participate in counseling due to the interactions with the horses, and feel more at ease to talk freely.

Unmounted therapy involves activities performed on the ground (rather than riding). Clients are asked to perform tasks, to the best of their ability, that they do not know how to do and that are new to them. This is very effective with children and adults who have a lack of confidence or anxiety about new things or change. It is also an effective anger-management therapy. By becoming successful at these activities with a 1200 to 2500 lb. animal, these same children can transfer their successes to other real life challenges they are facing. Both of these forms of therapy increase assertiveness that will help the client effectively confront difficult life challenge.