Equine therapy at Silver Ridge is an important part of our addiction treatment program. Also called horse therapy, equine-assisted therapy and equine-assisted psychotherapy, we use these magnificent animals in therapy sessions that allow meaningful interaction between clients and horses.
Equine Therapy at Silver Ridge Gets Results
Equine therapy has been shown to provide many positive benefits for clients in addiction treatment. Equine therapy:
- Builds confidence
- Increases self-efficacy
- Fosters communication
- Builds trust
- Improves perspective
- Decreases isolation
- Bolsters self-acceptance
- Improves impulse control
- Improves social skills
- Helps set boundaries
- Boosts spiritual connections
Why Equine Therapy Works
A good therapeutic relationship between horse and client is a strong predictor of successful addiction treatment. One study reported that horses helped clients build a positive self-construct, provided important emotional support during treatment and helped clients form strong therapeutic alliances, all important parts of effective addiction treatment.1
Additional research has suggested that equine therapy helps clients stay in treatment longer and helps them complete the entire course of treatment.2 Both staying in and completing treatment are known to be strong predictors of positive treatment outcomes for substance use disorders.
What Happens During Equine Therapy
Silver Ridge provides a structured horse therapy program. During initial sessions, clients become familiar with horses, learn about horse behavior and safety and are introduced to the basic skills of horse care, handling and equipment.
In subsequent sessions, clients and therapists work through activities and exercises with the horses, all of which are focused on agreed-upon goals. Time in the stable is also a part of equine therapy’s overall treatment plan. Keep in mind that equine therapy at Silver Ridge involves activities with the horses that are intended as therapy, and not as recreation or riding instruction.
Participants in equine therapy research studies have reported that working with horses gave them a break from traditional treatment, gave them a chance to “forget everything” and gave them an opportunity to exercise and to do something useful.
Another benefit that helps people in recovery is that equine therapists are seen as friendlier and less confrontational. In research studies, equine therapists are described as people who don’t talk about drugs and other problems, don’t ask difficult questions and who treat participants as they really are, as opposed to being treated like a patient.3 Also, working in a horse stable gave participants a sense of belonging as well as direction.
Equine Therapy at Silver Ridge
Equine therapy at Silver Ridge incorporates impactful treatment methods that are known to be effective. Our horse stables become a place of healing and self-discovery. This helps you, as our client, to build a positive self-image, increase self-acceptance, cope with challenges during recovery and build an identity that isn’t solely tied to being the patient receiving addiction treatment. Equine therapy at Silver Ridge is more than just a “break from treatment;” it’s a strong and dynamic therapeutic approach that gives you lasting benefits in your recovery journey.