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Peakroe, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland

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Equestrian Assisted Learning

On the 24 th September 2012 in Athlone, a group of 9 people  involved with facilitating the relationship between humans and horses met to discuss how best to bring this field of work to a national level.  After much discussion they agreed a name on such a forum – the ‘Irish Association of Horses in Education and Therapy’.  This forum will include the following categories:

a.        Therapeutic Riding

b.       Equine Assisted Learning

c.        Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

d.       Equine Assisted Cranio Sacro Therapy and Emotional Release

e.       Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning

f.         Equine Facilitated Education Programme

g.        Equine Facilitated Coaching

Although early days yet, this new and exciting Association aims – overtime – to provide all those involved in this field of work with a forum for :

a.        Networking

b.       Accreditation of learning / training

c.        Standards for the different programmes

d.       Standards for Horse welfare

e.       Standards  on Safety

f.         Futuristic thinking

g.        Standards on ethics

h.       Research

With all this in mind, the group has set to work with developing definitions and other relevant pieces of information specific to the each of the 7 above categories.

Dates for an IHAET Conference have been set for Thursday and Friday 23 rd and 24 th May 2013 – which will bring all those working in this growing and significant field together.

As a group, we are really keen to hear from all those who are involved in this area of work and join us on promises to be a very dynamic group delivering very special learning, educational and therapeutic experiences for people

For further information please contact Frances on: Tel 086 171 3601


Seven Ways EAGALA model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy or Learning can help you and your clients

Engages... you and your clients in a powerful and unique experience. The process is engaging because it is active and effective. Once a horse enters the equation, everyone is instantly attentive and involved.
Reveals... what is going on for you and your clients more immediately and openly. Experientlal activities helps to see how clients act and react with the horses, giving you a clearer understanding of what your client needs to do and how you can help.
Impacts... in powerful, non-judgemental ways. Direct horse feedback and processing the experience creates opportunities for clients and yourself to 'see' the problems. The focus is on experiencing in the moment and relating this to life to provide long lasting solutions.
Shifts...the process from being stuck. Helps you and your clients get out of the rut and back on track. Everyone can hit a wall in therapy and learning at some point. Working with horses promotes insight and change that helps with momentum in therapy and learning.
Works...for all. Whether working with individuals, couples, families or groups of all ages, provides powerful opportunities to get to the heart of issues leading to better communication, healthier relationships and stronger partnerships in life.
Focuses...on solutions and goals that work. Whether treating addiction, trauma, behavioural problems, depression or other mental health issues or focusing on self-esteem, problem solving, tea building, ,leadership or other learning outcomes, helps with developing greater awareness, challenging beliefs and promoting change..
Supports...Through a professional approach. The EAGALA model adopts a team and ground based approach with the horses. An experienced horse specialist, qualified mental health professional / educator and the horses make up the team that work with the clients. EAGLA Certification requires intensive training, continuing education and supervision. Certified Professionals hold to a high standard of practice and ethics.

How Horses help people experience physical and Psychological well being.

Human interaction with the horse has continuously changed throughout history and over the last 40 to 50 years the role of the horse has moved into the arena of facilitating interventions which result in the improved physical and or psychological well being of people.
This area can be broadly divided into three areas:

Therapeutic riding and hippotherapy

1. Therapeutic riding

Therapeutic riding teaches children and adults with disabilities how ride horses with an emphasis on learning how to balance, distribute their weight and the use of rein, voice and leg aids in order to communicate with the horse. As a result of this social and psychological improvements are made including self-esteem, communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving, decision making, personal development, posture and balance

Therapeutic riding is also used to help improve the social functioning in children with autisim. Sensory integration is also an important part of the therapeutic riding and this can be developed by the use of a sensory trail.

2. Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy has been used since the fifth century BC to treat injured soldiers. The focus of hippotherapy is exclusively on the treatment of the disability where the horse influences the patient rather than the patient controlling the horse. Horses provide sensory input through movement which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive. The three dimensional movement of the horses hips, pelvis and sessions is generally on the person working with a horse on the ground so riding is not usually involved. Children work with a pony or horse on the ground, observing and interacting with the horse based on their own comfort level.

Equine guided psychotheray

Equine assisted growth and learning programmes

GALWAY EQUESTRIAN CENTRE is the only EAGALA approved centre offering the above therapies in the west of Ireland. The centre is the location for EAGALA training in Ireland which takes place each year.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Equine assisted psychotherapy is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional. EAP is xperiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horse and then processing feelings, behaviours and patterns. The focus of EAP is not riding or horsemanship. It takes place purely on the ground.

Equine Assisted Growth and Learning

Equine assisted growth and learning is a process where people work with horses to develop their emotional growth. Personal awareness, relationships and trust. The difference is that equine guided psychotherapy model is facilitated by a licenced psychotherapist and the equine assisted growth and learning programme is not. The focus of the sessions is generally on the person working with a horse on the ground so riding is not usually involved. Children work with a pony or horse on the ground, observing and interacting with the horse based on their own level of comfort.