In equine-assisted therapies (EAT), the targeted skills are fine motor, large motor or large muscle groups, communication and other behavioral skills in the form of therapeutic procedures such as:
- Therapeutic Horseback Riding
- Equine-facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)
- Equine-assisted Psychotherapy
Equine therapeutic activities
What are the equine-related activities for therapeutic purposes? The activities are not limited to horseback riding. Many students may feel intimidated by the horse’s size and features and may take some time to develop trust when around the horse. So included in the therapy program are lessons on horse care, horse grooming, saddling and basic equestrian.
How does equine therapist suit the activity to the patient’s needs? The process or technique to be applied during the session depends on the type of disorder and its severity. But the primary techniques are:
- Cognitive therapy
- Practicing activities
- Activity scheduling
- Play therapy
- Storytelling and talk therapy
In all equine activities, safety is the primary concern. Therapists ensure that patients or students are wearing helmets and other protective gears in case they fall from the horse during the session.
“As a quadriplegic and student in our program myself, the movement on the horse increases muscle tone and builds core muscle strength. This aids in the prevention of furthered scoliosis and trunk rotation, an extremely limiting condition to independent living that is related to my spinal cord injury and paralysis.”
- Katie Smith
An Army Veteran Takes His Next Step—with the Help of a Horse
Army veteran Brian Mancini has been using equine therapy—a practice that uses specially trained horses to help improve a person’s physical and emotional states—to help him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, he’s taking the next step in an exercise called therapeutic riding. Watch what happens when Brian gets on a horse for the first time. Plus, see how Brian’s doing today and get Jonas Elrod’s thoughts on his time with Brian.