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What is Equine Therapy?

A woman pets a horse.
Animal-assisted therapy can help a person accomplish his or her goal of leading a productive and drug-free life.


“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man,” said Winston Churchill.

But equine therapy isn’t the same thing as just going out and riding a horse—although that certainly is an activity that is both enjoyable and beneficial in many ways.

Rather, equine therapy pairs you with a trained therapist and a horse and its handler. Together, you’ll work together to address treatment goals and objectives. The concept is that patients learn about themselves by participating in activities with their horse—and then processing and discussing their feelings.

Part of the reason this form of therapy works so well is because horses are known for their ability to mirror the attitudes and behaviors of the humans with whom they are working.

Patients are then able to observe their horse’s reaction and, with the help of their therapist, work through negative thought patterns and feelings.

Equine Therapy Benefits

In 2008, two researchers from Norway did a study on the benefits of animal-assisted therapy for people with psychiatric disorders. Previous studies had shown the benefit of spending time with dogs or cats, but this was the first study to examine the effect of interacting with farm animals, including horses.

Survey participants visited a farm twice a week for three hours— for 12 weeks. The result? Participants experienced a “significant increase” in both self-efficacy and coping skills.

Recovery at The Raleigh House

Rehab is not one size fits all. That’s why each person who walks through our doors at The Raleigh House is assigned his or her own therapist. Together, you’ll come up with a plan not just for your recovery, but for how you plan to deal with the joys and challenges of life once you leave rehab.

Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs at The Raleigh House.

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