Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Equine assisted therapy?

(6 Posts)
Azie09 Tue 07-Mar-17 09:14:45

Doubtless this will confound many! I know that there is a very respectable sideline therapy run by qualified counsellors and therapists which uses horses to help distressed people with depression, low self esteem etc. I think it has its roots in the US.

However, having moved to Gloucestershire recently, which I see as having a high horse, as well as people, population, I've become aware of a number of people setting themselves up to offer sessions with horses under various guises which they describe as helping with mental health and yet, they are not run by people qualified in counselling or therapy.

This really came to light for me when I came under a hard sell from a young woman who had suffered depression herself and had a horse and was now setting up her own company and intending to charge £120 an hour for therapeutic sessions with her horse. I've worked with vulnerable groups of people and this really concerns me but I've no idea how such a thing might be professionally accredited. I'm not a mental health professional and I'm not looking for therapy, I just ride and like horses. This young woman was trying to persuade me to do her 5 day training course.....I backed off firmly but was left wondering. Any thoughts anyone?

tanith Tue 07-Mar-17 09:18:41

I suppose there are some therapeutic advantages to contact with animals but it sounds like a way to make lots of money out of vulnerable people to me, why an expensive horse when a cat or dog might do the same job.

merlotgran Tue 07-Mar-17 10:04:01

I would definitely back off. If you just want to ride find a good local stables.

Deedaa Tue 07-Mar-17 15:31:18

There have been reports of very good results using horses as therapy. Partly perhaps because, although large, horses are naturally wary and vulnerable themselves. I would want to know that the person in charge had some sort of qualifications and was working with other professionals. Not just touting for custom from door to door.

ggmarion Tue 07-Mar-17 17:33:36

I was a volunteer with Riding for the Disabled for many years and I have seen first hand how therapeutic it can be. The warmth of the horse combined with the rhythmic movement has soothed many a distressed child. The horses are specially chosen by qualified riding instructors and thoroughly tested under all conditions. There is always one person leading and one walking along side incase of any unexpected happenings. Insurance of course is in place and a qualified first aider present. This person offering rides on her horse for £120 and hour sounds as though she is out to make money. Any reputable riding school would be able to offer the same facility for a heck of a lot less.

Iam64 Tue 07-Mar-17 19:57:43

Monty Roberts, aka The Horse Whisperer uses horses in his work with veterans who have been traumatised in war zones. Monty doesn't believe in post traumatic stress disorder, he's had good results.
There are a number of accredited, qualified psychotherapists who use horses or dogs in their work with people who have mental health issues. Again, with positive results. I share your reservations Azie about the woman you met. The therapists I know had many years experience in working with people before beginning to train in using animals in their work.

My experience was that dogs and horses were a real aid in working with children.