Equine Therapy at ALA — EAGALA Certified
Equine therapy is a non-traditional therapy involving a qualified mental health therapist and an equine specialist working as a team to facilitate an experiential hands-on learning experience for students. Equine therapy does not attempt to diagnose a person’s “problems” or provide “solutions” for them, and it does not matter what the student knows or doesn’t know about horses. The horses are there as the most important part of the team as the horse’s communication is non-verbal, feeling and mirroring where the student is emotionally.
Horses can smell from as far as a mile away, identifying pheromones emitted of fear, stress, or anger. They can feel what the student is feeling despite what the student is saying. Horses are 100% honest in their relationship with humans, not hiding anything. The student often finds that their manipulation or bullying tactics don’t work on the horses. The Equine Specialist provides structure and gives directives based on what the student’s needs are in that moment. The focus is on the constant non-verbal communication with the horses.
Questions are directed to the student through the horses and what the team observed the horses doing rather than what the team saw the student doing. Observations and language are kept as simple as possible, leaving it open for the student to put their own interpretation on what was going on rather than putting the team’s interpretation on what is happening. The therapeutic team follows the student’s lead in regards to what words they use and what labels they give the horses. The horses then become symbolic, most often representing different relationships in the student’s life. Sometimes instead of a relationship, the horses are symbolic of something in the student’s life such as “Home” or “Addiction,” feeling “Needy” or “Independent,” for example. The students in session come to powerful realizations of their own accord and often find answers through the realizations brought on by this process.
Equine therapy is popular with our students. Most want to participate. Through the Abundant Life Academy Equine Therapy program, the students discover that horses are both great healers and teachers.