Horse Therapy for Troubled Teenagers
What is Equine Program Therapy?
Shepherd’s Hill Academy uses Equine Relationship Therapy or ERT, also known as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy or EAP, as one of its many therapeutic methods. ERT/EAP is a therapeutic approach that focuses on relationships and utilizes horses as a tool to enhance behavioral, relational, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Equine therapy dates back to the times when horses were used for therapeutic riding in ancient Greek literature, documented as far back as 600 B.C. Therapeutic Riding was introduced to the United States and Canada in 1960 with the formation of the Community Association of Riding of the Disabled (CARD). In the United States riding for the disabled developed as a form of recreation and as a means of motivation for education, as well as its therapeutic benefits.
Upon enrollment and based on his or her individual needs, your child has the privilege of choosing his or her own horse to bond with during a weekly Equine Relationship Therapy session. For the duration of his or her stay, your child participates in ERT activities facilitated by Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning O.K. Corral Series and Natural Lifemanship certified instructors and counselors.
If you would like to support Shepherd’s Hill Academy’s Equine Therapy Program, there are ways for you to get involved, even if your son or daughter is not currently enrolled.
Studies have indicated that the benefits of equine therapy have been successful in helping students show marked improvements in the following areas:
- Problem Solving Skills
- Critical Thinking
- Self regulation
- Situational awareness
- Self awareness
- Follow through
- Self control
- Communication skills
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Taking healthy risks
- Planning ahead
- Self sacrifice
- Encouraging others
- Anger Management and Stress tolerance
- Setting and Reaching Goals
- Developing Communication Skills
- Personal and Social Responsibility
- Companionship and Friendship
- Learning Safe and Natural Horsemanship
- Emotional awareness
- Flexibility and Impulse control
- Interpersonal relationships
What to expect for ERT/EAP Activities at Shepherd’s Hill Academy
As part of a year-long program at Shepherd’s Hill Academy, students will participate in the Equine Relationship Therapy (ERT) component , among other evidence-based, holistic approaches to scientific therapeutic methods.
Equine Therapy takes place once per week, aiding your teen in healthy relationship building skills. During this program your teen will select a horse to work with for the duration of their time at Shepherds Hill. They will work through a personalized journal to build skills and goals that will aid them in developing healthy relationship skills and coping strategies.
All equine program activities are facilitated by O.K. Corral Series and Natural LIfemanship trained/certified counselors and instructors to provide mental, physical, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual healing to individuals by harnessing the powerful connection between horses and people. Shepherd’s Hill Academy’s ERT Model includes 4 Stages of Progress your teen will experience as they navigate the exclusive student reflection notebook called Stable Eyes.
As students progress through the 4 Stages, they will encounter the following equine program activities. Every activity is designed to help each troubled teen with their individual therapeutic needs in dealing with addictions, disorders, other behavioral and relational issues:
- Maintenance, Care, and Grooming Horses
- Team Building Challenges
- Self-Expression by Utilizing Paint
- Family Restoration Activities
- Specialized Activities that Address Personal Needs
The Equine Therapy Program is a unique facet of Shepherd’s Hill Academy, integrating relational therapy with natural horsemanship lessons and instruction. As a student works through the tasks and goals of the Equine Therapy program, they find that they are also learning deep lessons about themselves, their families and their peers. Along the way, the program builds their relationship skills, allowing them to examine their own life and relationships with others.
Contact Shepherd’s Hill Academy today to see if your teenager can benefit from our Equine Therapy Program
Shepherd’s Hill Academy’s mission is to bring hope and healing to teens and families in crisis. You can help us support this mission through our Equine Therapy Program by donating to Shepherd’s Hill Academy.