Improving Equine Assisted Therapy Provision

Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) has previously been looked upon as providing a platform for do-gooders within the equine world. A “feel-good for the facilitator” type of service. We now realise the potential of Equine assisted therapy as a professional therapeutic practice. Equine therapy demands a much higher level of horsemanship, therapeutic input, research, equine athleticism and business acumen than previously understood.

To improve equine assisted therapy provision, we must take into account the following factors:

  • The evolution of human/equine interactions.
  • The education and expertise required of those involved in EAT, both from the equine and therapeutic perspective.
  • Necessary understanding of the therapeutic process, and the physiologic response to being on and around horses.
  • Equine Assisted Therapy as a business entity. How NGO’s and commercial enterprises can support and develop EAT programs.
  • The correct team dynamics to ensure success: Interaction between therapists and equine specialists.
  • Current leaders in the field, and their input into existing practices and education.
  • The role of equine and therapeutic organisations in championing EAT.

In this talk, I will look at how equine welfare, knowledge and training, alongside therapeutic management, understanding of disability and program management can break a new frontier in the future relationship between humans and horses.

Speaker: Terri Brosnan

Terri Brosnan is head of the Equine Assisted Therapy Unit in Childvision, which is the national education centre for visually impaired children in Ireland. Terri has a lifetime of equine experience in therapeutic and competitive fields. She has assembled a team of Equine specialists and therapists to meet the needs of the visually impaired and autists in Ireland.

Through her work in Childvision, she is a member of HETI, the IAHAIO Equine Welfare task force, and the AIRE executive council.