Equine Therapy Explained


Equine therapy (also known as horse therapy) is a calm interaction between equine animals and a patient, used to not only help the patient learn accountability, problem solving, and self-assurance, but so the therapist can observe these interactions and use them to dive deeper into the patient’s emotional challenges. Horses are patient and non-judgmental animals by nature, making them the perfect candidate for this particular type of therapy, where patients use the animal as a sort of catalyst to solve more deeply-rooted issues.

What sort of issues does equine therapy help?

Equine therapy has been used in a variety of different need-based issues, but it has most widely been known to help treat addiction, mood and behavioral disorders, eating disorders, sex addiction, ADHD, depression, and so many more. With the help of a licensed equine therapist, patients can feel at ease interacting with the animal, and it can open up a base for discussion between the therapist and the patient later on. It is especially effective for patients who have otherwise struggled with other forms of therapy, or haven’t found success in really opening themselves up and growing or learning from their issues.

What are the benefits of equine therapy?

Aside from the growth and knowledge that comes along with equine therapy, there are a myriad of other benefits that come with the tranquil responsibilities given to patients, including:

Social Skills

Equine therapy isn’t ‘one size fits all,’ and there are many different ways to go about it, depending on every patient’s particular situation. There is a long list of various methods to practice when it comes to the patient interacting with the horse, and how the therapist will use that interaction to bring forward the patient’s issues and struggles. Still, some of the most common tasks a patient will use in equine therapy include overall care for the animal, grooming, feeding, saddling, etc. Even simply riding the horses and feeling the gentle connection can really allow a patient to feel safe, and open up to the therapist in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

The benefits of equine therapy have been proven again and again, and as its popularity continues to grow, it’s likely that even more uses and benefits will come from it, that could possibly lead to therapeutic practices with other animals. In the meantime, there is something truly special about equine therapy, and the ability it has to do so much, simply utilizing the natural temperament of an animal.

As a Therapist Santa Rosa, Kristy Hellum provides individual therapy, couples therapy, and therapy for teens.