12 Things I Wish I'd Known About Equine Therapy Companies Before Hiring One

  • February 07, 2024
  • 2 minutes

Equine therapy, as an intervention method, has been steadily gaining traction and respect among practitioners and clients alike. This method, often referred to as Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT), involves interactions between patients and horses under the guidance of a qualified EAT professional. However, before one engages an equine therapy company, there are considerations and misconceptions that should be understood. So, allow me to share some invaluable lessons that I've learned throughout my interactions and experiences with equine therapy organizations.

  • The importance of accreditation cannot be overstated. Accreditation is an assurance of professional standards, safety measures, and a commitment to quality service. Look for companies with certifications from recognized bodies such as the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). This is akin to selecting a university with proper accreditation—it underpins the quality of the education you receive.
  • Not all equine therapy companies offer the same services. Some focus on therapeutic riding, while others might use equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP), which targets mental health. It's akin to the differentiation between an orthopedic surgeon and a psychiatrist—both are doctors, but their specialties vastly differ.
  • Evidence-based practice is the gold standard. This means the company's methods are based on scientific research and proven outcomes. It’s the difference between empirically supported treatments and those supported merely by anecdotal evidence.
  • Horses are not magic mirrors. The idea that horses can somehow reflect a person’s emotions or thoughts is a simplification. Instead, horses are extremely sensitive to their surroundings and react to human emotions, an ability evolved over millennia for survival. Our reactions to their responses provide valuable insights to the therapist.
  • The duration of equine therapy may differ from traditional therapy. This is not an instant solution; it requires time and commitment. It is akin to physical training—you wouldn't expect to run a marathon after a single training session.
  • Cost can be a significant factor. Equine therapy can be expensive due to the cost of maintaining horses and running a facility. It's like maintaining a sports car versus an everyday vehicle.
  • Insurance coverage varies. Some insurance companies classify equine therapy as an experimental treatment and may not cover it. It's similar to the challenges faced in the early days of telemedicine—innovation often precedes regulation and recognition.
  • The therapist’s experience and qualifications matter significantly. Harnessing the power of human-horse interactions requires specialized training and expertise. It’s like the difference between a novice pilot and an experienced one; both can fly a plane, but the latter provides a safer, smoother ride.
  • The selection of the horse is not arbitrary. The breed, personality, and training of the horse are all carefully chosen to best assist the client's needs. It's like casting the right actor for a role in a film—the character must fit the story.
  • Location is significant. Most equine therapy takes place outdoors and the environment can significantly impact the therapy process. It’s like setting up a business—location can make or break it.
  • Equine therapy is not only for individuals with physical or mental health conditions. People seeking personal growth, improved communication, or leadership skills can also benefit. It's like taking a management course—it's not just for struggling managers.
  • Finally, the success of equine therapy depends largely on the relationship developed between the client, the horse, and the therapist. Trust, respect, and understanding are paramount. It's like a well-conducted orchestra—with trust and coordination, melodious harmony can be achieved.

Equine therapy, when delivered appropriately, holds significant potential for various psychological and physical therapeutic interventions. As with any service, due diligence, understanding, and informed decision-making are critical. The above points are not exhaustive, but they provide a solid foundation for understanding what to expect when engaging an equine therapy company.

Learn More

Unleash the healing power of horses and discover a world of therapeutic wonders by delving deeper into our enlightening blog posts about equine therapy companies. For those seeking the best in the field, they are encouraged to explore our comprehensive rankings of the top Equine Therapy Companies in San Diego.