Equest focuses on the power of the human-horse connection to facilitate the healing process. Horses are natural partners for counseling as they are inherently authentic and aware of the emotion and intent of those around them.
A Healing Bond
Horses are natural therapeutic partners and Equest counseling sessions dive deep into this trusting relationship. Once a trusted bond is established with the horse, a very powerful transformation takes place leading clients towards increased self-awareness, self-regulation, empowerment and more.
A Tailored Approach
Our clients work with a licensed mental health professional, a certified equine specialist, and a therapy horse/herd to accomplish counseling goals. Sessions may be held in the barn, pasture, arena or round pen. Each session evolves at the client’s own pace and is tailored to each individual. Our mental health professional’s primary role is to focus on client treatment while the equine specialist’s primary role is to ensure safety and help interpret the horse’s behavior. The client will be matched with the treatment team that best aligns with the client’s area of need.
Research has shown an array of horse counseling benefits including enhanced:
- Communication skills
- Social Skills
- Emotional regulation
- Relationship skills
- Spiritual connection
The first session is an intake session to review client history and goals for counseling. No prior horse experience is necessary and there is no riding during counseling. Based on the goals established, the treatment team will guide the relationship with the horse and develop activities in support of the treatment plan.
What’s in a Session?
Sessions may include mindfulness, emotional regulation, herd-based therapy, and body sensation awareness. We allow the horse and the client to guide what the session will look like, while also encouraging clients to slow down and learn to be present with the horses.
Sessions are held rain or shine, but will be canceled if Dallas ISD closes for inclement weather. Please dress for the weather in clothes that you do not mind getting dirty. Closed toe/heel shoes are required and boots are preferred. Three late cancels or no shows may lead to termination of services.
Is Equine-Facilitated Counseling Right for Me?
Our priority is the safety of you and our horses. In collaboration with PATH Intl., we have determined that counseling with horses should not be used for clients who are:
- Actively dangerous to self or others (suicidal, homicidal, aggresive)
- Actively delirious, demented, dissociative, psychotic, severely confused
- Medically unstable (including active/serious eating disorders)
- Actively abusing substances