Equine Assisted Therapy Program

Equine Assisted Therapy Program

Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) is a powerful and effective method of working with people struggling with psychological trauma, grief, low self-esteem and substance abuse. Simply put, this age-old therapy uses a combination of horses and therapy to enable participants to identify, process and change negative feelings, behaviours and patterns.

Horses have a calming effect on people and show remarkable similarity to humans in their limbic (emotional) brain region, and in their patterns of social structure and relating. They experience a wide range of emotion, are intuitive animals with distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. They have defined roles within their herds comparable to human dynamics. Because of these similarities, horses can demonstrate and teach a wide range of psychosocial skills such as self-awareness, honest communication, trust, healthy boundaries, leadership, patience, assertiveness and affection.

The Second Chance Equine Assisted Therapy Program is an eight-week program that takes place for two-hours per week. Individuals suitable for the program are referred to the Second Chance Trust by partner organisations involved in working with at-risk children and youth as well as those that work with adults whose lives have been affected by challenges such as violent crime, HIV/AIDS and substance abuse.

All sessions comprise a combination of practical work with horses, team work, debriefing and discussion. Each week has a specific theme and purpose which is adapted to suit the needs of the group.

Caregivers from the referral organisations are integrally involved in the program. This is to provide them with deeper insight into the challenges the group is experiencing and enable them to integrate the principles of the program into their own work. The referral system is key to ensuring that the program does not work in isolation of an individual’s holistic care and that they have the necessary support structures in place both during and after the program.