4 Essential Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Equine Therapy Company

  • January 03, 2024
  • 2 minutes

The decision to choose an equine therapy company is one of critical importance, best made with careful consideration and abundant knowledge. The interaction between humans and horses, a cornerstone of equine therapy, has been recognized for its therapeutic potential since the times of ancient Greeks. Equine therapy, also known as equine-assisted therapy (EAT), is a form of experiential therapy that involves interactions between patients and horses to promote emotional growth and personal development.

When selecting an equine therapy company, several essential questions need to be considered. The answers will serve as a guiding compass, leading you to an organization that meets your unique needs and delivers an experience that positively impacts your life.

  • What are the qualifications and experiences of the staff?

The effectiveness of equine therapy is dependent not only on the horses but also on the team guiding the therapy. Thus, the qualifications and experiences of the staff form the first essential query. This includes the therapists, equine specialists, and even the horse handlers.

Staff members should possess relevant certifications from recognized and reputable organizations such as the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). They should also have substantial experience in delivering equine-assisted therapy. This ensures that they possess the requisite theoretical knowledge and practical skills to facilitate effective therapy.

  • Does the company have a tailored approach to therapy?

Every individual's needs in therapy are as unique as their fingerprints. Therefore, a tailored approach is paramount. Some clients might benefit from a cognitive-behavioral approach, translating the actions of the horse into metaphorical life lessons. Others may require a more solution-focused method, using the horse as a tool for building problem-solving skills.

Companies offering a 'one size fits all' approach might not be providing the specialized care needed for effective therapy. Accordingly, this question probes whether the company has the capability to adapt their program to meet the individual needs of diverse clients.

  • Where does the company source its horses?

The horses are the heart and soul of equine therapy. Therefore, the source of these majestic creatures is another critical consideration. Ethical sourcing ensures the welfare of the horses, which, in turn, contributes to the effectiveness of the therapy.

Companies should be able to trace the origin of their horses, providing assurances of humane treatment and proper care. Moreover, the horses' personalities and temperaments should be suitable for therapy work.

  • What safety measures are in place?

Equine therapy, like any other activity involving large animals, inherently carries some risk. Thus, the safety procedures and protocols employed by the company are of utmost importance.

The company should prioritize safety training for staff and clients, maintain a safe and clean environment, and have protocols in place for emergencies.

Now, in the field of risk management, there lies a principle called the 'Swiss cheese model', a theory propounded by James T. Reason in 1990. This model illustrates that, although many layers of defense may be in place (much like slices of Swiss cheese), there may still be holes (representing weaknesses) in each layer. When these holes align, an accident occurs. In the context of an equine therapy company, this principle emphasizes the need for robust multiple layers of safety measures to minimize the potential for accidents.

By thoughtfully considering these four fundamental questions, you can make an informed choice when selecting an equine therapy company. A company that meets these criteria will not only provide a safe and nurturing environment but will also deliver an effective and tailored therapeutic experience.

Learn More

Unleash the healing power of horses and gallop into a world of wellness by exploring more of our enlightening blog posts on equine therapy companies. For an unbiased, comprehensive view, readers are encouraged to peruse our meticulously compiled rankings of the Best Equine Therapy Companies in San Diego.