Glossary of terms
EAL – Equine Assisted Therapy:
Equine therapy, also known as Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT), is a treatment that includes equine activities and/or an equine environment in order to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth in persons suffering from ADD, Anxiety, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Dementia, Depression, Developmental Delay, Genetic Syndromes (such as Down Syndrome), traumatic brain injuries, behavioural issues, abuse issues, and many other mental health problems. Equine Therapy can help the individual build confidence, self- efficiency, communication, trust, perspective, social skills, impulse control, and learn boundaries.]Since the horses have similar behaviours with humans, such as social and responsive behaviours, it is easy for the patients to create a connection with the horse.]Riders with disabilities demonstrate their remarkable accomplishments in national and international sport riding competitions. Equine-Assisted Therapies all over the world have developed as a medical field recognized by most major countries.
Equine therapy can involve more than just riding the horse. In some sessions, a client might not even touch the horse at all. Often the mental health professional leading the session will set goals for the client to complete, such as leading the horse to a designated area or putting a halter on the horse. The client will complete the task to the best of their ability and then discuss the thought process, ideas and problem solving used to complete the task. Discussing what the client is doing at a given time allows them to improve language skills. Listening to the instructor helps improve the individual’s ability to listen and follow directions, ask questions, etc. Not only is there communication between the rider and the instructor, but also between the rider and the horse. Equine-Assisted therapies like Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Horseback riding, and Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy target every aspect that an individual with a disability could potentially need; fine motor skills, large motor skills/large muscle groups, communication and other behavioural skills.
EAP- Equine Assisted Psycotherapy also known as Equine-facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP):
Using horses as an aid in psychotherapy. It includes creating a connection between the patient and horse through grooming and being around each other.]EFP can be used to assist people with mental and emotional difficulties such as anxiety and mood disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), behavioural challenges, or even life changes
EFET- Equine Facilitated Education and Therapy:
Therapy based on EAP combined with the National Curriculum to allow students and teachers
This type of therapy is often used as a treatment for anxiety. Horses sense danger and respond with heightened awareness of their surroundings, oftentimes trying to flee is the situation seems too dangerous to them. Individuals suffering from anxiety disorders may be able to feel these changes through observation, then allowing them to rather than oneself can greatly reduce the individual’s anxious response and allow them to challenge automatic thoughts. Throughout this process the patient would practice remaining calm and taking responsibility of his or her own thoughts.
This technique allows an individual to choose an activity, which may be outside of their own skill level. The therapist or horse professional will then assist them as needed and talk with them about thoughts or feeling that are stimulated by these activities. For example, lunging, bathing, and feeding the horse are all activities that involve coordination, planning and active communication.
Oftentimes planning or developing a schedule to care for a horse throughout the day can teach an individual a sense of responsibility as well as flexibility because the physical needs of horses can change anytime.
Play Therapy and Story telling:
Many horse characteristics can be identifiable to individuals including the instincts of play, curiosity, freedom and social drive. Play therapy allows and inspires creating relationships and setting limits. Story telling encourages developing stories about what the animal is thinking and conveying emotion. This is a great tool for language skill building and creativity.
Team work sessions:
Equine Therapy is often used as team building exercises, family or group therapy because horses also show interpersonal behaviour. Also because equine therapy is often goal oriented, it allows the group to work together to achieve something.