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What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy incorporates horses into the therapeutic process. Clients engage in activities such as grooming, feeding, and leading a horse under supervision. Goals of this form of therapy including helping clients develop skills such as emotional regulation, self-confidence, and responsibility. 

Equine therapy can be used with a variety of populations and in a variety of therapeutic settings. Horses can be used in counseling with individuals of all ages, families, and groups. Offering a much different experience than traditional talk therapy, equine therapy brings clients outdoors and offers an opportunity to use all senses while learning and processing through emotional challenges.


Equine therapy can be helpful in managing many conditions. Some of those conditions can include:

Anxiety: Equine therapy in the treatment of anxiety can help clients practice vulnerability in a safe environment. As clients learn to interact with the horse and try new things, they are being asked to step out of their comfort zone with the help and support of the therapist and the horse.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Children, teens, and adults can struggle with PTSD. Those who have PTSD can struggle to bond with someone again and feel a personal connection. With equine therapy, clients can feel that connection again and take that into the rest of their lives and relationships.

Addiction: The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to help clients live sober, healthy, and productive lives. Many times in addiction treatment, clients are also working hard to heal hurts within relationships. Equine therapy can help clients learn how to develop a sense of trust through their interactions with the horse as they gain a sense of safety and build a relationship. The experience can encourage clients to be vulnerable as they learn new things and interact with the horse.

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