What is Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)?

Horses can be associated with their work ethic, assertiveness, communication and size. They are also social animals with defined roles and vast personalities. All these attributes allow for copious opportunities for metaphors. Our horses do the work for effective growth in the client's lives; they break down barriers. The horses are able to mirror the client's authentic emotions and needs. It is about the client/horse relationship that makes this work conscious and most effective. Watch this Vimeo on "Why We Use Horses."

Embarking into the world of equine-assisted activities can come with several questions. Here is some general information.

The Eagala Model is so effective because it embraces the science that humans learn best by doing. The model prescribes a hands-on approach where clients are given the space to project and analyze their situations, make connections, and find their own solutions. 

Since the solutions are personally experienced in conjunction with intellectual understanding, they tend to be deeper, more profound, and longer lasting.


EAP is a model of development that incorporates horses experientially for mental health treatment. The focus is on the clients being themselves. Sessions are structured and facilitated to deliberately address the treatment goals, objectives and interventions of the client. The WE Team plans sessions; clients are given time with the horses through a structured activity. This time allows the client to experience themselves and work independently or collaboratively. Clients have attested to the fact that one EAP session can access the same content as years of traditional therapy.


EAL is a model of therapy that incorporates horses experientially for personal growth and learning goals. The treatment team plans sessions based on clients' goals. Clients are given time with the horse through a structured activity. This time allows the group to experience the activity for themselves, and find solutions that work. EAL is not psychotherapy. It is ideal for: Staff Development, Professional Development & Team Building, Parenting Workshops, Family Systems Workshops and more!

What is Equine-Assisted Learning / Coaching (EAL/C)?

What are the common types of equine assisted therapies?

No! There is no riding or horsemanship involved in our sessions. Everything is STRICTLY ground based sessions. It is safer to allow the horses to move freely as they wish instead of trying to "control" them. There are great benefits for riding and referrals can be made. 

Do clients ever ride the horses?

What can I expect during my time at the barn?


This work is client driven, meaning you take the lead. The WE Team is there to observe the horses and reflect what is seen and heard. There are always the client, a mental health professional, an equine specialist and the horses (sometimes llamas too) in each session! The role of The WE Team is to set up suitable experiences, pose problems, set boundaries, support clients, ensure physical and emotional safety and facilitate the learning process. During the sessions, The WE Team may step back from the client and/or move around the arena to observe the horses interactions, behaviors, shifts, and patterns. The observation process, with the horses, maybe discussed with the client during debrief resulting in personal refection and insight. If we have bad weather, we will contact you.


What should I wear or bring?


Yes, this is a best practice modality for our clients! Instead of 4 walls, your counseling office is 40 acres! WE accept private pay, BCBS, Aetna, Cigna, TriCare and AHO.


Hippotherapy - Physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement.

Therapeutic Horsemanship - A program in which students learn horsemanship skills, such as riding and caring for horses. Horsemanship is the primary objective, however life lessons and therapeutic benefits may also be gained.

Therapeutic Riding - A mounted therapy in which disabled individuals learn to ride horses to relax, and to develop muscle tone, coordination, confidence and well being.

The work listed above is highly beneficial, however it is not what WE offer. We strictly follow the ground based model called Eagala, which offers mental health and personal development opportunities.

Here is a great article about the Differences in Equine Therapy



What is the difference between EAP and EAL/C?


The above descriptions for EAP & EAL sound very similar. They are in the sense that no matter what we are doing (be it in therapy, coaching or personal development) the model and standards of Eagala remain the same. Differences arise within populations, desired goals and the focus of facilitation based on the desired goals. EAP is psychotherapy or counseling based. Clients are working on the treatment of mental disorder with a treatment plan in place. EAL/C is psycho educational, goal or learning based. Clients are working on learning new skills with a distinct timeline. Sessions can be held in groups. Click here to read, "Do I need a Therapist or a Coach?"


Is EAP covered by insurance?

We are going to be in a pasture with free moving animals. Close toe shoes such as boots or sneakers are recommended. Dress accordingly to the season and weather forecast. We also have water bottles available. Simply bring an open mind and a smile!