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Equine Assisted Therapy



Equine-Assisted Expressive Arts Therapy incorporates all five disciplines of the expressive arts (visual, dance, movement, music, drama/theater and writing poetry) with equine-assisted psychotherapy. This multi-modal, sensorimotor-based approach interweaves the healing power of the expressive arts with established Equine-assited models to provide a dynamically oriented approach to therapy.

This combination of equine and expressive arts is a healing art in itself, culminating in a co- and self-regulatory sensorimotor practice, resulting in transformation meaning-making experiences. Equine-assisted expressive arts therapy is an embodied, “felt sense” experience, reflective of the healing aspects of bottom up interventions. As a result, sensorimotor exploration and hemispheric integration across the midline (bilateral stimulation) comprise the foci of the equine-assisted expressive arts therapy approach with respect to regulatory processes: for example, response artwork, (painting, clay, nature art, mindfulness-based and bilateral movement, visual journaling exercises, fiber art (felting and weaving), and sound (humming, drumming, and singing)


Equine-assisted learning (EAL) is described as an “experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills … through equine-assisted activities.”

The history of horses and humans dates back centuries. Traditionally, the horse has been used as a working tool, a form of transportation and in battle. By the mid-20th century, the horse’s utilitarian value had decreased, yet popularity of horse riding and racing had grown. In addition, horses started to be increasingly valued as human companions.
These traits can create a connection between individuals and horses, often leading to a noticeable transformation for each-other. Studies of human-horse relations have found miraculous connections, a form of collaborative neural communication from brain-to-brain, in real time. Such conversations allow horse and human to achieve their immediate goals in athletic performance and everyday life. In a very real sense, each species’ mind is extended beyond its own skin into the mind
of another, with physical interaction becoming a kind of neural dance.


The Healing Power of Equine Assisted Therapy for Rescued Horses and Individuals with Mental Health Challenges

Rescued horses and individuals with mental health challenges can both benefit from participating in equine assisted therapy (EAT) programs. These programs offer a unique opportunity for rescued horses to heal and grow, while also providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment for individuals with mental health challenges.
For rescued horses, EAT programs can provide a safe and supportive environment where they can learn new skills and receive the care and attention they need. These programs can help rescued horses overcome the challenges they have faced and find new homes and new purpose.
For individuals with mental health challenges, EAT programs can provide a chance to build trust and form positive relationships with animals who have also faced adversity. These programs offer individuals the opportunity to learn new coping skills and find meaning and purpose in their lives.
By participating in EAT programs, both rescued horses and individuals with mental health challenges can experience the healing power of building a partnership based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding. These programs can be a valuable source of healing and growth for both the horses and the individuals involved.

Therapeutic Horsemanship

At Sanctuary Stables, we provide veterans with a unique approach called Therapeutic Horsemanship, which distinguishes itself from the commonly known Equine Assisted Therapy utilized by horse-related programs for veterans.

When we say that Therapeutic Horsemanship is a unique approach, we mean that it is different or distinct from other methods or programs that use horses as a therapeutic tool for veterans. While Equine Assisted Therapy is a commonly used approach in horse-related programs for veterans, our Therapeutic Horsemanship approach may have its own unique features, techniques, or strategies that make it stand out from other programs. It could involve specific ways of working with horses, tailored exercises or activities, or a particular philosophy or focus on the therapeutic process. Ultimately, the uniqueness of the approach may depend on the specific goals, values, and principles of the organization offering it.