Equine Assisted Therapies
Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that can bring about direct change in individuals, young people and families, especially when trauma has been experienced.
Equine Assisted Therapy has roots in therapeutic riding. Over time it has developed into a sensitive art of non-verbal communication between horse and client. Because the Horses an authentic engagement, free from judgement, they are able to mirror our inner most emotions without having to find the words.
EAT is experiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves by taking part in activities with the horses, and then processing feelings, behaviours, and patterns. This helps with regulating emotions, developing emotional intelligence, sensory body awareness and confidence-building. Connections with the horses are built by completing activities, playing or being in stillness with one or more of the herd.
At Red Horse Foundation, EAT sessions are facilitated by mental health trained professionals and are very supportive to the client. The focus is first and last on the client /horse relationship, but the facilitator will also integrate traditional models of counselling and psychotherapy.
EAT has a similar timescale to psychotherapy in that some clients with a high degree of trauma may come for months or even years whereas others may require only 8-12 weeks of therapy. We suggest eight weeks as a minimum. Many problems see an improvement after eight to 16 weeks.
Sessions last between 1 hour and 90 mins. A minimum of 8 sessions is generally recommended. No experience with horses is necessary, and most of the time is spent on the ground communicating with the horse, guided by experienced facilitators. Riding may be included in the sessions by mutual agreement of client and therapist.
We aim to make our service as accessible as possible. Concessions are available for the low-waged and unemployed.
We also Equine Guided Learning personal development sessions for individuals and workshops for groups. Equine Guided Learning helps with regulating emotions, developing emotional intelligence, sensory body awareness and confidence-building without sharing your past. It is a more task-oriented approach with more emphasis on activities with the horses. Please see Equine Guided Learning and Events for more information.
As highly intelligent herd and prey animals, horses have evolved to be responsive to each other’s needs for their own survival and the survival of the herd. During an EAT session we become part of the herd, and they read our physical and emotional behaviour in the same way as they do each other’s. Research has shown that in certain conditions horses have the ability to synchronise their own heartbeat with that of human beings. This can have a deeply calming effect on our nervous system.
In an EAT session at Red Horse Foundation, a mental health trained professional will support the client to understand themselves, their life challenges, behaviours and patterns through their relationship with the horses. A therapist may also employ traditional models of counselling and psychotherapy. EAT is experiential in nature. Clients take part in specially selected ground based exercises with one or more of the horses. Each session evolves at the clients own pace. A session may also include: mindful awareness, emotional self-regulation, sensory body awareness and emotional intelligence, all of which help regulate the nervous system and boost self-confidence.
EAT has a similar timescale to counselling and psychotherapy. It may be short or long term. We suggest a minimum of 8 sessions and offer an initial introductory visit to talk through your needs with a therapist. Sessions last between 1 hour and 90 minutes. No experience with horses is necessary and most of the time is spend on the ground. Riding is not necessary, but therapeutic riding may be included in the sessions by mutual agreement of client and therapist.