How Equine-Assisted Therapy Works in Addiction Recovery


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Addiction is a complex disease that can take many forms. While medication and therapy are often effective in treating addiction, there is another treatment option that can be even more beneficial: equine-assisted therapy.

Horses are incredibly intuitive creatures, and they can help people in addiction recovery to learn how to connect with their feelings and emotions. In addition, horses can provide support and stability during times of stress or temptation.

If you or somebody you know is struggling with addiction, consider seeking out an equine-assisted therapy program. The results may surprise you. Magnolia Ranch Recovery is proud to offer equine-assisted therapy as part of our holistic treatment approach to addiction. Contact us today at (931) 342-4262 to learn more about our programs.

What Is Equine-Assisted Therapy?

Equine-assisted therapy (EAT), also known as equestrian therapy or horse therapy, is a type of experiential mental health treatment in which patients interact with horses. Equine therapy is appropriate for people of all ages and has been shown to treat a wide range of mental health issues, addressing both physical and psychological concerns associated with a diagnosis.

In addiction recovery, EAT can help people develop a connection with their feelings and emotions, as well as to learn how to trust others. It is often used in conjunction with other types of treatment, such as medication and therapy, and it can be an effective tool for people who are struggling to stay sober.

How Does Equine-Assisted Therapy Work?

EAT is based on the principle that horses are non-judgmental creatures that can help people to feel safe and comfortable. When working with a horse, people in recovery can learn how to trust themselves and others, as well as how to communicate effectively.

EAT usually takes place in a group setting, which helps people in recovery to build social skills and develop positive relationships. In addition, EAT can help people to learn about boundary-setting and assertiveness.

Types of Equine-Assisted Therapy

There are many different types of equine-assisted therapy, depending on your individual needs. Some common types of EAT include:

  • Ground-based activities: These activities involve working with a horse while remaining on the ground, such as feeding, grooming, haltering, and leading. Ground-based activities can help people in recovery to develop trust, communication, and boundary-setting skills.
  • Riding activities: These activities involve riding a horse while being supervised by a qualified instructor. Riding activities can help people in recovery to develop balance, coordination, self-esteem, and confidence.

Equine-assisted therapy can be an effective treatment option for people who are struggling with addiction. Contact us today to learn more about this exciting program.

Benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy

  • Improved communication skills
  • Increased trust and self-esteem
  • Greater balance and coordination
  • Enhanced social skills
  • Boundary-setting skills
  • Assertiveness training
  • Heightened confidence
  • A sense of responsibility
  • Fun and enjoyment

Communicate Better

One of the most life-changing things you can do in addiction recovery is to learn how to communicate in an effective and healthy manner. This means being able to express your needs and feelings in a healthy way, as well as listening to others without judgment.

What communication skills can you learn from a horse? For one thing, horses are very good at reading body language. This means that you can learn how to better communicate your needs and feelings by paying attention to your body language when you’re around a horse. In addition, horses can provide a safe and supportive environment for you to express your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment.

Develop Trust

Building trust takes time and effort. It’s something that has to be developed over time through positive interactions. However, the trust that develops between a human and a horse can be very strong and can provide a great sense of security and support.

When you’re working with a horse, you have to be able to trust the horse in order to develop a relationship with it. For example, when riding, you have to trust that the horse won’t buck or bolt. In addition, you have to be able to trust that the horse will respond appropriately to your commands.

Trusting means letting go of your fears and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This can be a challenging thing to do in the beginning, but it’s an important skill to learn to build healthy relationships with other people.

Increase Self-Esteem

Working with a horse can help you to increase your self-esteem in a number of ways. For one thing, horses can provide unconditional positive regard, which means that they accept you for who you are without judgment. In addition, working with a horse can help you to develop new skills and confidence.

As you learn new skills and become more confident in your abilities, your self-esteem will naturally increase. This can be a great way to feel proud of your accomplishments and help you to feel better about yourself in general.

Develop Balance and Coordination

Riding a horse requires you to use your whole body (including your core muscles) to stay balanced. Not only is it a great workout, but it’s also wonderful training that will help you avoid injuries from slips and falls.

In addition, horseback riding can help you to develop better coordination. This is because you have to coordinate your movements with those of the horse in order to ride effectively. As you become more coordinated, you’ll find it easier to do other daily or recreational activities, such as playing a sport, walking, dancing, and more.

Enhance Social Skills

Horses are very social animals, and they require a lot of interaction with other horses and people. When you’re interacting with a horse, you have to be aware of its body language and cues. This requires you to pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal communication. In addition, horses require you to be assertive in order to get their attention and establish boundaries.

All of these things can help you to enhance your social skills. As you become more attuned to the nonverbal cues of horses, you’ll find it easier to read the nonverbal cues of other people. In addition, being assertive with a horse can help you to be more assertive with other people in a healthy way. This can be helpful in both personal and professional relationships.


When you’re working with a horse, you have to be aware of its needs and make sure that it has everything to stay healthy and happy. Putting in the time and effort to care for a horse can include grooming, feeding, exercising, and more.

Staying on track in your recovery process is not always easy. However, finding a sense of responsibility towards a horse can help you develop that relationship with yourself.

Equine-Assisted Therapy in Pulaski, TN

Magnolia Ranch Recovery is proud to offer equine-assisted therapy in Pulaski, TN, as part of our comprehensive addiction treatment program. Our highly trained and experienced therapists will work with you and your horse to help you achieve your goals. We also feature several “Sensory Trails” along our 106-acre property. The celestial experience of these scenic trails has helped many of our residents reconnect with lost parts of themselves and develop a deeper sense of peace and calm.

If you or a person close to you is struggling with addiction, please reach out to us by calling (931) 342-4262. We look forward to helping you find the best path toward recovery.

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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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