Equine Therapy

What Is Equine Therapy?

The Power of Equine Therapy

Discover the Benefits of Equine Therapy for Mental Health and Well-being

Equine facilitated therapy is an experiential (hands-on) psychotherapeutic intervention involving horses as co-therapists. Depending on your identified needs, your treatment plan may include equine therapy.

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Here at Castle Craig, our Equine Therapists are EAGALA trained.

  • A qualified Mental Health Practitioner works alongside a Horse Specialist each focusing on human and equine behaviour respectively, ensuring emotional and physical safety.
  • There is no riding involved and no prior horse knowledge is required, this therapy is also suitable for those with a fear of horses.
  • Horse therapy is non-directive therapy that encourages individuals to find their own answers and take responsibility for their choices.
  • There’s a strict code of ethics, prioritising the dignity and well-being of humans and horses at all times.

Research shows Equine Therapy can work with those affected by addictions, emotional trauma (including  PTSD and dissociative process), atypical behaviors, self-worth issues, abuse, eating disorders, learning difficulties, anxiety, and depression.

Benefits of Equine Therapy

  • Increased self-awareness
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved social skills
  • Improved communication
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Greater trust
  • Assertiveness
  • Resilience
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Responding – not reacting
  • Anger management

What Makes Therapy with Horses Special?

The horse embodies a metaphor for healing and their archetypal energy is recognized across cultures and civilizations. Equine Assisted Therapy is an intense therapy where powerful personal learning can take place in a non-threatening environment.

equine therapy

Here are a few reasons why:

Horses can put their 50 million years of successful existence down to healthy boundaries and expert communication on a non-verbal level. Engaging with them and our activities offer alternative ways of relating to the world around us.

  • As prey animals, horses have an instinctual fear of danger and can read the intentions of another from a great distance. This means they can accurately tell what we are feeling – even if we are not yet aware of it. Thus, they act as a mirror to what is going on in our lives, giving instant, honest feedback which catalyses our healing.
  • Horses are masters at self-regulation or the ability to ‘ground’ themselves after any difficulty or trauma. Being close to their calm energy can allow us to do the same, eventually incorporating this learning into our everyday life.
  • Due to their sheer size and physical presence, the horse can incite different reactions and emotions in us depending upon our life experiences. This creates a natural opportunity to examine the power dynamics within our relationships.
  • Horses are naturally curious, social creatures who do not worry about ego, looks, or qualifications and have no ulterior motives. They stay in the present moment and provide unconditional acceptance, a significant factor in the healing process.


Read about Steven Lowe, a former patient at Castle Craig, Spending time with horses: Is this the perfect therapy? The Herald, 25th August 2008.


  1. EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) is the Global Standard in Equine Therapy.
  2. **Taken from, ‘The Effectiveness of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy’ a literature review by Cassandra Hunter (2014). Sources and references can be provided upon request.

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