Equine Therapy

Horses don’t judge. They can teach parents and children so much about themselves, each other, and the trust that is essential to healthy relationships.

You don’t need any horsemanship skills to take part in equine therapy, just a willingness to engage. For children and adults who like less talk, more action, equine therapy is a unique and powerful way to engage sensitively with another living creature that can offer insight into our own strengths, difficulties and negative survival patterns. Equine therapy is gaining in reputation and is currently being used to help soldiers recover from PTSD following armed conflict and children to overcome the trauma of early childhood loss and adverse experiences. Equine therapy is a term used to describe two different types of therapeutic service:

  1. Equine-facilitated learning (EFL) is a hands-on learning approach that promotes the development of life skills through equine-assisted activities”
  2. Equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP) is a hands-on approach to psychotherapy that supports children and adults address personal challenges.

We are offering Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy with Tania Watson at Rangeview Therapy Centre, Co. Down. Tania is a qualified psychotherapist and equine facilitator. She offers one-to-one sessions or sessions for parents and children together in a safe and confidential setting overlooking the Mourne mountains.

How do I know it is right for me?/What is the Process?
Equine therapy is a complementary therapy designed to help clients gain insight into the impact of negative behaviours on others. It generally includes activities with horses but does not necessarily involve riding. Therapeutic sessions may include instruction on befriending, grooming, saddlery, feeding and activities.

When correctly guided by a professional therapist, equine therapy can really help people deal with stress, the effects of negative experiences in early childhood, trauma, fear and attachment issues.

Equine therapy and the healthy relationship established with horses has proven effective in addressing issues such as:

  • lifting mood
  • reducing anxiety
  • increasing well-being
  • reduced hypervigilance
  • greater authenticity
  • the expression of hidden feeling and thoughts
  • a greater sense of empowerment
  • increased confidence
  • self-worth
  • self-perception, communication
  • trust
  • respect
  • perspective taking
  • self-acceptance
  • better impulse control
  • boundary setting
  • assertiveness/aggression
  • responsibility/accountability
  • problem solving/cooperation
  • teamwork and social skills
  • substance misuse
  • eating disorders
  • family conflict
  • abuse
  • depression
  • problems in school and other challenges.

Equine therapy works well alongside any other therapeutic interventions with which families may be engaged.

What is the Process?
Referral involves the parent completing a profile about the child and themselves. From this the therapist develops a sessional plan and arranges an introductory session with the family. Additional sessions are organised thereafter, usually on a weekly basis. Each session is observed/assessed and is followed by a debrief with the client. A weekly evaluation form reflecting comments of the client and therapist is completed. TESSA will fund up to 12 sessions for children or for child and parent.