Equine Assisted Therapy
WHAT IS EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY?
It’s a client-centered, solution-oriented, evidence-driven therapy that gives clients space to analyze their situations, make connections, and become empowered to find solutions on their own. Because each solution is experienced on a personal level in conjunction with intellectual understanding, these solutions tend to be deeper, more profound, and long-lasting.
Approaching a horse with its powerful presence, helps us reflect on how we approach our relationships, or how we can face other large, overwhelming situations in our lives. In most cases, the horses are free to move around and there is no riding involved. Sessions are held in the pasture, yard or arena. Both indoor and outdoor available.
WHY EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY?
As prey animals, horses make all decisions in order to stay safe. This is true of people as well. Horses intuitively analyze and respond to our body language, which provides us with valuable feedback and insights into other areas of our lives.
Negative behaviours are a response to fear. Our behaviour is a coping mechanism to deal with the pressure/stress of feeling out of control, which is where the fear comes from. This is true for both horses, and humans.
We use the horse to get to the root of that behavior and work toward self-regulation, confidence-building, awareness, and ultimately, behavioral modification.
Horses allow us to practice new responses to fear that are healthier, and to feel emotions in a safe, non-judgemental environment. A horse will choose to be around you only when they feel safe with you. Equine Assisted Therapy lets you feel connected to a large animal that chooses to be in a relationship with you.
Equine Assisted Therapy can help with -
Overall Mental Health
Abandonment and Rejection
Lack of Self-worth
Confusion about difficult relationships
"Impulse Control: Children and teens who struggle with impulse control and emotional regulation can benefit tremendously from Equine-Assisted Therapy. The need to communicate with a horse calmly and non-reactively promotes the skills of emotional awareness, emotion regulation, self-control, and impulse modulation. Equine-Assisted Therapy is effective in reducing children’s irritability, agitation, and impulsivity, and increases cooperation, emotional regulation, capacity for delay, and behavioral control.
Self-Esteem: Children’s confidence is enhanced as they challenge themselves to learn and master new skills. They improve their ability to tackle new projects and challenges in a natural, non-competitive, and non-judgmental environment, which leads to improved confidence, self-assurance, and self-esteem.”
– Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Psychology Today
EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY SERVICES
There are community programs to help fund therapy and lessons for those who do not have the financial means. Contact us to explore options.
30 min | $31.50
Allow the movement of the horse to benefit the rider both physically and mentally. Vault pad with handles or a saddle are used and the rider is led by a capable handler. A platform with stairs is used for those needing help to mount up. Positive results occur as there are 100 movements per minute on a walking horse! Riders with paralysis and/or muscle tension and those benefitting from mental stimulus have experienced huge benefits. Allows for less mobile seniors to reminisce and connect safely with horses again. The highly active children nearly or do fall asleep as the horse helps regulate them. It seems that once they trust the horse, they can relax and let the rhythmic movements soothe them. It is also known that riding a moving horse helps with inner ear balance. Studies have found that the affects of ALS, MS and Parkinson's Disease can be lessened by riding horse.
EQUINE ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
1 hr | $140 OR 1.5 hrs | $180
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is one client with a team consisting of the horse(s), Equine Specialist (ES) and Mental Health Professional (MHP). Occasionally family members are included to help work through the experiential process. Horses are worked with on the ground mostly. It is solution-oriented using experiential learning while believing that the client has the ability to change within. Horses and humans both want to be safe. Horses can hear our heart beat and are attuned to our energy and emotions making them a competent emotional communication partner for us. These are private sessions and we adhere to a strict code of ethics.
EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING
1 hr | $84
We work with individuals to teach them about horses and all their similarities to people in order that a new perspective is seen and life skills can be learned. Please keep in mind that there is no Mental Health Professional involved. Sessions are run similar to the EAP above however the expertise of the MHP is absent. The horses are the same and still are able to reflect and teach the client. The Equine Specialist is one that also works with the MHP in EAP sessions and so has experience in this area.
HORSES ANCHORING YOUTH (H.A.Y.)
Free to participants | Tuesdays 7 - 8:30 PM
Horses providing unconditional love for the acceptance of all youth. This mentorship program is free to participants because of our supporters who believe in making a difference in people’s lives, like we do! Females aged 12-19 years old are eligible to participate. There is no riding of the horses in this program. Weather permitting, we will be working outdoors in the pastures and arenas. No one is restricted from attending so long as you can follow directions from us to stay safe. On staff are at minimum, one psychotherapist with experience working with youth and one equine specialist that is knowledgeable and familiar with the horses. Drop in style as we meet weekly on Tuesdays 7 - 8:30 PM (We do not meet in July and August).
3-5 participants: $150/hr | 6-12 participants: $175/hr | 13-20 participants: $200/hr
Allows people to work together as a team to complete a task that involves horses. Ground work, no riding, allows for an intimate connection to the horse as you problem solve and work with the horses who respond to your energy. Great for character development, confidence, team building, self discovery and more. Families, corporate, committees, school classes, etc.
DISCOVER BI-DIRECTIONAL HEALING
Bidirectional “healing” happens when we are near horses. According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain. A magnetometer can measure the human heart’s energy field radiating up to 8 to 10 feet around the human body, yet the horse’s heart is five times larger than the human one. The horse’s electromagnetic field is also stronger than ours and can directly influence our own heart rhythm!
Horses are also likely to have what science has identified as a “coherent” heart rhythm (heart rate pattern) which explains why we may “feel better” when we are around them. A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adjust to stressful situations very efficiently. Oftentimes, we only need to be in a horse’s presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace. In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy.”
Grooming by the withers releases oxytocin which creates bonding with the horse and/or human involved. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps us feel love and trust in each other which forms the basic building blocks for relationships. Equine assisted therapy works to help boost a human’s levels of oxytocin. Elevated levels of oxytocin are also associated with an improved sense of wellbeing, greater levels of life satisfaction, and more fulfilling relationships.
With 110 movements per minute at a walk, anyone with balance issues, difficulty with weightbearing exercise, or lack of coordination and strength will benefit from riding horse. Riding significantly helps to slow the progress of Parkinson’s, ALS, MS as the horse triggers the balance of the inner ear which slows the symptoms.
Speech is often triggered with riding (for non-verbal, or shy people).
Horseback riding can help calm those with ADHD/ADD/Hyperactivity, allowing them to self-regulate and rest.
How long are the sessions?
Typically one hour per week for mental health sessions which are on the ground, thirty minutes for riders, depending on the client’s needs.
Who will be there?
- EAL (Equine Assisted Learning): Equine Specialist Tara Reimer, the horses, and the client. Caregivers or family members don’t need to be in attendance but may stay on the property.
- EAP (Equine Assisted Psychotherapy): Mental Health Practitioner, Equine Specialist Tara Reimer, the horses, and the client. Caregivers or family members don’t need to be in attendance but may stay on the property.
- Adaptive Riding: Certified riding instructor and client. Caregivers or family members should be available to side walk where needed.
Where do the sessions take place?
Outdoors, in either the indoor or outdoor arena, or in our pasture (weather permitting).
What do I need to bring?
Close-toed shoes that are suitable for outdoor walking. Layers of clothing as often windier and cooler than most expect.
When can I expect to see improvement?
That depends on the client. The horses teach us in every session; every session brings opportunity for growth. With younger children, we usually see their true characters emerge after 6 months of weekly sessions.
Equine Assisted Therapy programs at Cloud 9 are made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.