Equine assisted counseling (EAC) combines a horse, a counselor, a horse specialist, and a client to address treatment goals. The client is paired with a horse selected specifically for him or her after an initial interview. The counselor gives the client (or clients, if group therapy) task, such as have the horse move completely around the client without touching the client. After the task is completed, feelings, insights, and behaviors are processed or discussed. Clients, especially children, are willing to not only attend counseling sessions, but are excited about the sessions. Just being with a horse is therapeutic. The horse is working as a facilitator.
Equine assisted learning (EAL) uses the horses to teach clients about themselves. Horses don’t judge our motives, they communicate non-verbally, and they are sensitive to our behavior. Because horses are prey animals, they are always alert to their surroundings. Because horses are herd animals, they use body language to communicate. They can mirror or reflect an individual’s or a group’s emotions through this body language.EAL helps individuals understand themselves and others through participation in activities with the horses and then processing or discussing the feelings and behaviors. These reflections lead to insights which can be applied to real life situations.
EAL can help individuals to:
* become teamplayers
* develop problem solving skills
* improve leadership abilities
* improve communication skills
* encourage good relationships