Equine Therapy

Horse Close-Up

What is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is a form of experiential therapy that uses horses as a means of discovering more about people’s inner emotional states and patterns of thought and behavior.

According to Fountain Hill Center Therapist and EAGALA-Certified Equine Assisted Mental Health Specialist Tracy Thompson, equine therapy can often be a good option for people who struggle to achieve good results with traditional talk therapy. “Not everyone is capable of sitting in a room and talking about their thoughts and feelings. Equine therapy offers people a way to¬†simply be in their experience and be impacted and changed by it rather than judging or analyzing it. And that can be a gift for many people.”

How it Works

The Barn - Dwarf PonyHorses are very sensitive animals, and a lot like us, socially. They are very good at picking up on our nonverbal cues. In therapy sessions, they will begin to respond to us in ways that mirror other relationships or dynamics in our lives. They become our spouse, partner, colleague, children, dreams, fears, addictions, etc., which gives us a chance to work through issues in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.

Equine therapy can help with ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, relational conflict, and many other issues. No riding is involved, and no previous experience with horses is required. As Tracy explains, “There’s no horsemanship involved. There’s no right or wrong.”

All equine therapy sessions involve a team approach with a minimum of one certified mental health professional, one certified equine specialist, and at least one horse. Experiential activities are planned and executed based on client needs and goals. Learning and growth occurs during the here-and-now of the session and through processing with the therapeutic team at the conclusion of activities.

How Can I Get Started?

The Barn for Equine LearningIf it sounds like equine therapy might be a good option for you or someone you know, The Fountain Hill Center makes it easy to get started. To schedule an individual or family equine therapy session, please contact our office at (616) 456-1178.

Tracy is also currently facilitating two equine-assisted therapy and learning groups at The Barn for Equine Learning, in Lowell:

  • Heal, for women impacted by trauma (meets every other Monday, 1-2 PM)
  • Colts & Fillies, for middle schoolers ages 10-14 (meets every other Monday, 4-5 PM)

These groups run continuously (weather permitting), with new participants welcome to join at any time. Cost per session ranges from $30-$50, with fee adjustments made based on client income.

If you have questions, or would like to sign up, please contact Tracy directly, either online or by phone at (616) 456-1178.