Benefits of Equine Therapy for Mental Health & Substance Use


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Living around animals has long been proven to have beneficial health effects on humans. Many recovery centers help addiction patients with animal assistants, and one such treatment is equine therapy. It is an experiential therapy that uses horses for physical and emotional healing. Various methods and activities are used depending on the client’s needs. If you are looking for addiction therapy methods, trying equine therapy can be a good consideration.

What is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy or equine-assisted psychotherapy employs horses for therapeutic applications where the client grooms, feeds, rides, and leads a horse under a mental health professional’s supervision. Some forms of equine therapy are Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Riding, Equine-Assisted Counseling, etc.

Who is Equine Therapy for?

Equine therapy can be used for adults and children alike. It gives them an opportunity to move around, go outside, change their environment, and approach their issues in a non-traditional manner. 

What are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

#1- Reduced vulnerability: Not everyone can easily open up about their emotional and past traumas to other humans. The patient can feel uncomfortable sharing their personal space with someone else, even if it is a professional therapist. Having an animal around can ease the process of opening up.

#2- Non-judgemental space: Although professionals try their best to gain their client’s trust and make them feel comfortable, the client may not feel ready. A horse can provide a sense of peace and surety to the client. A horse will only react to the client’s emotions and behaviors without making them feel judged.  

#3- Mirroring emotions: Horses are well-known for being keen observers and sensitive to movements. A human is able to connect with horses better than they can with other humans emotionally. 

#4-Externalizing experiences: Some traumas are challenging to talk about. When a horse is present with the client, they can compare their situation to the experiences the horse has gone through. This method is called externalizing. It is an effective method to address one’s traumas.

#5- Enhanced empathy: Animals need to be cared for and loved. Nurturing them and caring for them can improve social relationships for the client and make them more empathetic to other living beings.

#6- Add a routine structure: Taking care of a horse is time-consuming. Clients are asked to groom, feed, water, and exercise their horses during their treatment. These simple chores add structure to the patient’s day.

#7- Other benefits: Distress tolerance, emotional awareness, impulse control, and increased independence are all added benefits of equine therapy. 

About Magnolia Ranch Recovery Addiction Treatment Center

Preventing substance abuse is essential to save yourself from the damaging effects of drugs and alcohol addiction.  At Magnolia Ranch Recovery, we offer premium addiction treatment services to our clients and assist them with drug rehabilitation, along with treatment for co-occurring disorders. Our team of trained therapists aims to provide supportive and compassionate care to those suffering from drug abuse. Our clients choose us for our personalized inpatient programs, residential treatment, and individually designed treatment options. For more information about us, contact 888-992-7955 or write to You can also fill out our contact form to get a call back from us.

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Picture of Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP
Esra Ahmed - MS, NCC, LPC, MHSP

Experienced Clinical Director with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in Anger Management, Healthcare, Medicine, EMDR, and Life Transitions. Strong healthcare services professional with a Masters Degree focused in Psychology from The University of Memphis.

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