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Horse Integrated Psychotherapy

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."-Winston Churchill

Natasha and horses

Integration of ground work with the horses will help improve the talk based therapy by providing an experiential way to learn about yourself and others.  The horse will help you tune into your own feelings and body language, as well as learn about your impact on others.  Horses are prey animals-which means that they are not aggressive and it is necessary to their survival to tune into the emotions of beings around them.  Humans are predators, and even though we come with friendly intentions, the horses must tune into us...for them, it's a matter of life or death!

The Details

  • The inclusion of the horses in the therapeutic process can be done in the context of individual, couple, family, and group therapy.  This is not a therapeutic riding program, and all of the work with the horses is done from the ground

  • The amount the horses are incorporated is on ongoing discussion between client and therapist; this can range from a talk therapy session with horses present, to mindfulness activities with the horses, to grooming and talking, to ground based exercises in the arena

  • Weekly sessions are always preferable and lead to better outcomes

  • The overall length of service is hard to predict, but if sessions are consistent, the number of sessions would likely range from 6-16

  • Available in person only

  • Covered by most insurance policies, please check with your provider first

  • Closed toed shoes are required


Safety Considerations

Horses are living beings with minds and anxieties of their own.  During your first session, we will spend some time going over safety around horses.  We will also go over a verbal liability waiver. Here are some basics and a couple links:

  • Horses cannot see directly in front or behind them; always approach from the side

  • As excited as you may be, always approach a horse slowly and calmly; excited can easily be confused by a horse as aggressive

  • Never wrap a lead rope around any part of your body while it is attached to a horse

  • Ask, ask, ask-I WANT you to have a positive experience with my herd-ask if you can go into the paddock, feed treats, etc.  I will help you with everything you need to know to have things go smoothly

  • Ontario Equestrian Horse Safety

  • Horse handling

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