Equine Collective Inc.’s Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program can be utilized to address a variety of mental health concerns, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our program is open to families, couples, individuals, and groups. We are here to help anyone that is hurting. Due to a horse’s unique nature – they can sense our emotional state and respond accordingly, acting as mirrors for our inner selves. Interacting with these amazing creatures will help individuals tune in and regain confidence, freedom, and a sense of security. This offers opportunities to develop greater self-awareness and improve relationships. Horses help you pay attention to the current moment and may help change your perspective.
Our program is a relaxing, family-friendly environment where Veterans can come and get away to relax, and share time with fellow veterans, friendly staff members, and calming equines. This environment significantly reduces stress and anxiety by encouraging understanding and trust. Horses are prey animals and possess many of the same needs and encounter many of the same psychological challenges as a veteran returning from war. The common needs between the horse and veteran, group hierarchy, routine, safety, and comfort, help to facilitate a trusting bond between horse and human. Unlike communication with other humans, the communication between horse and human is nonverbal and nonjudgmental.
Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
There is growing evidence that human-animal interventions can improve emotional health and social wellness in youth – especially those on the autism spectrum by improving in the areas of irritability, hyperactivity, social skills, and word fluency. Some theorize that children diagnosed on the spectrum gravitate towards horseback riding because they are more comfortable with familiar routines – just like horses. It has also been noted a horse’s rhythmic stride has a calming effect on the brain, some of the other effects of equine-assisted therapy include:
- Relaxing tight muscles
- Building muscle strength
- Improving fine motor coordination
- Sharpening hand/eye coordination
- Improvements in posture and flexibility
- Improving communication (improving one’s ability to breath makes it easier for the person to speak)
- Gaining self-control
- Gaining self-confidence
- Improving concentration (especially for those who have difficulty staying on task with activities)
- Improving socialization
During a typical session the rider is encouraged to communicate with both the staff member and the horse. It has been noted that non-verbal autistic children suddenly begin to speak when they are prompted to use the horse’s name or are asked to get the horse moving. Equine therapy gives these children a sense of themselves and their bodies while increasing their contact and interaction with the surrounding world. The individual’s self-confidence increases as they gain competence by learning how to interact and work with their horse.