What are Equine Therapy Companies and How Do They Operate?

  • December 27, 2023
  • 2 minutes

Equine therapy has been in existence since the time of the ancient Greeks. Yet, it was not until the 20th century that its therapeutic potential began to be recognized and harnessed. Today, numerous companies worldwide are devoted to equine therapy, leveraging the healing power of horses to facilitate physical and emotional wellbeing. These companies operate within a regulatory and scientific framework, using evidence-based therapeutic modalities underpinned by psychological and physiological theories and principles.

Equine therapy companies are entities that offer equine-assisted interventions, which are interactions between horses and individuals aimed at enhancing human health and development. Their raison d'être is founded on the concept that horses, with their highly attuned sensory capabilities and non-judgmental, non-verbal communicative abilities, can act as catalysts for positive change in humans.

The precise constitution of these companies varies. Some are non-profit organizations, driven by philanthropic goals and reliant on donations and grants. Others operate as for-profit entities, providing services to clients who pay directly or via health insurance. The common denominator is their objective to facilitate human healing and growth.

Equine therapy companies are found globally, from the urban outskirts to rural heartlands. Their locations are often determined by the availability of suitable land for keeping horses and conducting sessions. In recent years, the proliferation of online platforms has expanded the reach of these companies, enabling the provision of virtual equine-assisted interventions.

The operation of these companies involves various interrelated elements, including the horses, the human clients, and the equine therapy professionals. In terms of the horses, companies usually maintain a team of carefully selected and trained equines, chosen for their temperament and ability to interact positively with humans. The clients may be individuals of all ages and backgrounds, seeking help with a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. The professionals include equine therapists, who are typically licensed mental health professionals with additional training in equine-assisted therapy, and horse specialists, who ensure the wellbeing of the equines and oversee the horse-human interactions.

The services offered by equine therapy companies encompass different therapeutic modalities. These can be broadly categorized into equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) and equine-assisted learning (EAL). EAP involves using horses as therapeutic tools in the treatment of mental health disorders, while EAL uses horse-related activities to facilitate personal growth and skill development. Each modality has its unique strengths and limitations. For instance, EAP can be highly effective in treating complex trauma but may not be suitable for individuals with severe phobias of animals. On the other hand, EAL can be beneficial for skill enhancement but may lack the depth needed for tackling deep-seated emotional issues.

The efficacy of equine therapy is supported by an ever-growing body of scientific evidence. It has been shown to enhance physical coordination, balance, and strength, as well as emotional regulation, social skills, and self-esteem. These outcomes are believed to be facilitated by the biopsychosocial effects of horse-human interactions, which engage the body, mind, and social dynamics.

It's important to note, however, that the efficacy of equine therapy is contingent upon the quality of the services provided. These companies operate within a regulatory framework set by professional bodies such as the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) and the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). These organizations establish standards of practice, provide certification and accreditation, and advocate for the field of equine therapy.

To conclude, equine therapy companies are at the forefront of an exciting and impactful field that marries the wisdom of age-old human-horse relationships with cutting-edge therapeutic modalities. By understanding how these companies operate, we can better appreciate their potential to effect transformative change in individuals and communities.

Learn More

Unleash the healing power of horses and gallop towards a healthier, happier life by exploring more of our enlightening blog posts on equine therapy companies. For an unbiased, comprehensive view, the reader is encouraged to peruse our meticulously compiled rankings of the Best Equine Therapy Companies in San Diego.