What is Equine-Assisted Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) is included in the broader term of Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) guided by PATH Intl. standards. Equine-assisted therapy is treatment that incorporates equine activities and/or the equine environment. Rehabilitative goals are related to the client’s needs and the medical professional’s standards of practice. Equine-assisted activities are not necessarily facilitated by a licensed physical, occupational or speech therapist; instead, other qualified professionals such as equine specialists, special education teachers, recreational therapists, counselors, and mental health providers can facilitate equine-assisted activities. Here is what the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, Intl.) says about EAAT.

What Are Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies?

“Throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of individuals with and without special needs experience the rewarding benefits of equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT). A physical, cognitive or emotional special need does not limit a person from interacting with horses. Riding a horse moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait, so riders with physical needs often show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength.

Whether it’s a five-year-old with Down syndrome, a 45-year-old recovering from a spinal cord injury, a senior citizen recovering from a stroke or a teenager struggling with depression, research shows that individuals of all ages who participate in EAAT can experience physical and emotional rewards…working with horses provides a powerful new paradigm.”

 The Role of the Equine as Partner in EAAT

“New scientific research continues to reveal critical information about equine sentience- their abilities of perception, cognition, memory, and emotions such as pain and fear. The information gained from equine communication can be highly useful in all EAAT settings.  In EAAT sessions or lessons, viewing the equine as a partner invites opportunities for relationship building and skill building with all participants served.”

For more information, follow this link : Learn about EAAT

Or see a helpful infographic here.