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Equine Assisted Learning vs. Equine Therapy: What’s the Difference?

Equine assisted learning and equine therapy are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different approaches for working with humans and horses. While both involve working with horses, they have distinct goals and methods. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between equine assisted learning and equine therapy, and how they can benefit individuals in different ways.

Understanding Equine Assisted Learning.

Equine assisted learning (EAL) is a form of experiential learning that involves working with horses to develop life skills and personal growth. EAL sessions are typically led by a trained facilitator who guides participants through activities that involve interacting with horses. Some activities are introspective, asking the participant to look inwards and seek to understand the underlying beliefs, assumptions and values that are influencing their behaviors. Some activities are team-based challenges, which provide opportunities for individuals to work together. These highlight areas where teams can improve their strategy, clarify roles and responsibilities and handle changes in direction. The focus of EAL for individuals or groups is on developing skills such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and teamwork. EAL is often used in educational and corporate settings, as well as in personal development programs.

The Benefits of Equine Assisted Learning.

Equine assisted learning has many benefits, including improved communication skills, increased self-awareness, and enhanced problem-solving abilities. Working with horses can also help individuals develop empathy, patience, and trust. EAL can be particularly effective for individuals who struggle with traditional forms of learning or therapy, as it provides a unique and engaging experience. Additionally, EAL can be a fun and enjoyable way to learn and grow, making it a popular choice for team building and personal development programs.

Understanding Equine Therapy.

Equine therapy, also known as equine-assisted psychotherapy, is a form of therapy that involves working with horses to address mental health issues or past traumas. It should be conducted by a licensed mental health professional who has specialized training in equine therapy. The focus of equine therapy is on the relationship between the client and the horse, and how that relationship can be used to address emotional and behavioral issues. Equine therapy can be particularly effective for individuals who have experienced trauma, as working with horses can help them develop trust and build healthy relationships.

The Benefits of Equine Therapy.

Equine therapy has been shown to have numerous benefits for individuals struggling with mental health issues. Working with horses can help individuals develop a sense of responsibility, improve communication skills, and build self-confidence. Additionally, the non-judgmental nature of horses can create a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their emotions and work through difficult experiences. Equine therapy can also be a great form of stress relief, as working with horses can be a calming and grounding experience.

Finding a Provider for Equine Assisted Learning or Equine Therapy.

Horse + Bow is the premier provider of Equine Assisted Learning for business teams and organizations in the Austin, TX area. We offer a fun and educational experience with horses that teaches groups how to work together to improve their creativity, communication, connection and collaboration. Individuals see growth in their empathy, inclusivity, compassion and care towards others. We also work with many other providers in the Austin area, state of Texas, and around the country, and are happy to provide a referral to others that may be a great fit for your organization.

Next Steps

Equine Assisted Learning has a major focus on interpersonal skills development. Connect with us to learn about how you can develop communication, connection and collaboration skills through interactions with horses.