What is Hippotherapy?
Equine-Assisted Therapy (also known as Horse Therapy and Equine Therapy) is a form of experiential therapy involving interactions between people and horses, supervised by an equine therapist and horse professional.
Practiced around the world, equine therapy has become a widely used therapeutic method for treating a variety of psychological, mental, and mood disorders, and even addiction. It has been successful treating patients experiencing—
- Behavioral difficulties
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Major life changes such as trauma, grief, divorce and loss
- Addiction and recovery
At Honey Lake Clinic, equine therapy is used in correlation with other forms of treatment and education, offering you a deeper awareness of yourself and a perfect environment in which to explore your feelings, behaviors and interactions with others.
What is hippotherapy?
There are several different types of equine therapy. Each has aims which correspond well with different needs and conditions being addressed. These different forms of therapy are most effective when they’re used not as a stand-alone, but as part of a well-integrated plan of care.
Hippotherapy is similar to therapeutic horseback riding but it typically also involves an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or a speech and language therapist. The horse is controlled by a handler and led through several different gaits, tempos, cadences, and directions. The different movements of the horse challenge you to engage your sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes.
Horses are majestic, gentle creatures. They’re quite large, weighing anywhere between several hundred and a thousand pounds. Their sheer size and strength can stir deeply buried emotions within you. They’re also social animals. Just like humans, horses have distinct personalities, moods and attitudes. They’re each unique.
Their imposing size and strength coupled with their individual personalities, and combined with their needs, can make working with these magnificent creatures an ideal setting in which to reveal thought and behavior patterns related to the issues that have brought you into treatment. Equine therapy can be helpful in developing like skills like—
- Communication and problem solving
- Facing fears
- Increasing confidence and self-esteem
- Identifying and addressing emotional roadblocks
- Developing new ways of interacting socially
Equine therapy assists you in learning valuable lessons about respect, empathy and communication that will serve you in your treatment, recovery and beyond.
On average, a horse walks at a rate of approximately 100 steps per minute. Just 5 minutes on a walking horse represents 500 neuromotor inputs. In a typical therapy session, perhaps as many as 15 to 25 minutes of equine movement may be incorporated which represents 1500 to 2500 neuromotor inputs for therapist and client to traverse.
Equine-Assisted Therapy at Honey Lake Clinic
There are several nuances within the equine therapy program at Honey Lake which differentiate our program from others. Here are a few to consider—
- Spiritual truths and principles are applied as clients work towards a point of ‘join up’ or connection with the animal. This aids you in drawing parallels between your own circumstances and your relationship with the horse.
- Techniques from different models in equine therapy are employed. Whereas many programs follow one model or another, at Honey Lake we employ elements of different equine therapy approaches—and even techniques our experienced therapists and staff have developed—to best meet your individualized treatment plan.
- Our clients have the opportunity to be a part of a horse’s rehabilitation at Honey Lake. You will find added fulfillment in being a part of the process to help horses move from an equine therapy animal to trail-riding horses, and eventually on their way to a good home.
- The equine therapy program at Honey Lake can include work with larger draft horses. You will benefit greatly from the opportunity to connect with such powerful, yet gentle creatures.
- The equine therapy program at Honey Lake is available to most of our clients desiring to try this form of therapy as a part of their overall treatment, even if they have no horse experience.
Equine therapy, used in correlation with other forms of treatment and education, can offer you a deeper awareness of yourself, your feelings, behaviors and interactions with others.
At Honey Lake, we’re committed to providing you with compassionate care and the practical equipping necessary to significantly improve the condition which brought you to our program. A faith-informed model, experienced staff, licensed professional caregivers, individualized treatment—all in a beautiful and tranquil 650-acre lakeside setting—we’re here for you.
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