Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) is a type of therapy that focuses on addressing mental health issues. It involves caring for horses in a stable environment and using equine activities to promote physical, occupational, or emotional growth. Many people confuse EAT with hippotherapy, as both involve horseback riding to address particular problems. However, hippotherapy is more for physical therapy.
The difference between the two therapies lies in how they encompass different practices and the movements are performed in different ways using the same techniques. Equine-assisted therapy is prescribed by a doctor and administered by a team that includes an accredited and licensed therapist (occupational therapist, physical therapist, or speech-language pathologist), a professional horse trainer, and a specially selected and trained therapy horse. It is intended to complement conventional approaches for a specific situation and should be led by a licensed and certified equine assisted therapist. Hippotherapy is a type of physical therapy that uses the movement of the horse to improve posture, balance, coordination, strength, flexibility, and motor development.
It is usually used to treat people with neurological or muscular disorders such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury. The therapist works with the patient on the horse to help them achieve their goals. Both equine-assisted therapy and hippotherapy can be beneficial for people with mental or physical health issues. However, it is important to understand the differences between the two therapies in order to choose the right one for your needs.
Equine-assisted therapy focuses on addressing mental health issues while hippotherapy is more for physical therapy. It is also important to make sure that you are working with a licensed and certified equine assisted therapist when undergoing equine-assisted therapy.