This is a common question we are asked!
Here is a pretty easy side-by-side comparison for you to help you discern which service best suits your needs at this time.
Equine Assisted Therapy Sessions
Facilitated by a licensed (or pre-licensed) counselor, psychologist, or marriage & family therapist, with a master’s degree or doctorate in the mental health field.
Goal is to work through various aspects of mental, emotional, or social struggles, with a treatment plan and goals specific to the client.
IS therapeutic. Each session is designed by your therapist to meet your specific treatment goals, using evidence-based interventions.
Can be fun! Let’s face it, being outdoors and working with these awesome animals is way more fun than sitting in an office. The horses bring a unique sense of humor to our “stuff.” We still have hard sessions, but overall we incorporate play and laughter as part of the healing process.
You will be guided by your therapist through a process that naturally brings up a lot of opportunity for insight and learning about your patterns of doing life, as well as gives opportunity to make changes to those patterns if you wish.
You may learn riding, ground work, and horse care, but the “skills” are not the focus. Our focus stays on the process, or the “how and why” we do things, because it helps us identify those patterns and things about us that we would like to change.
Facilitated by an instructor who is not a therapist but is trained in various aspects of horsemanship.
Goal is to teach the various aspects of horsemanship from a relationship-building perspective.
Feels therapeutic. (We all feel better after being with horses, let’s face it!)
You will learn a lot about yourself and life as you go, just based on the nature of horses – they will bring things up if you are “listening.” Your instructor can be like a mentor as you make some connections and learn some life lessons!
You will learn to ride (if you want, of course). You will also learn ground work for building relationships, and horse care skills.
Our approach to horsemanship is called natural horsemanship and is based on building a relationship with the horse through trust, respect, and understanding. We teach students to see the horse as a unique individual, and not just how to steer, but how to communicate clearly and calmly to a 1,000lb animal. Our mission is to positively influence the horse world by empowering men and women who genuinely do what's best for the horse and are educated in all aspects of horse care.
We work with kids 8+ who are horse crazy and want a family-friendly, positive and safe environment in which to learn and grow. We work with adults of all ages who rode as kids but want to pursue it as an adult, or who want to own their own horse one day and know how to care for it well. We aren't a show barn - rather our goal is to have fun with horses at any level you strive for.
We also work with horse owners who are struggling to build a deep bond with their horse or to fix a training issue while maintaining connection and relationship. We take our trauma-informed approach with us into working with horses, acknowledging what they have been through and that building relationship can be hard for horses who never had it.
We believe horsemanship is about so much more than riding. Your first couple sessions will likely involve more groundwork, as we practice building trust and respect until you are comfortable and ready to ride. We do not teach a specific discipline, rather the basics of good horsemanship and riding whether you ride english or western, for show or for pleasure. We want to equip and empower you to meet whatever goals you have for horsemanship!
Horsemanship is not for those looking for therapeutic services, but for those who may benefit from time with a horse or just want to learn to ride in a relaxing, non-show barn environment. This is also a great opportunity for your child or teen to learn important life skills such as patience, respect, empathy, and assertive communication, and to receive valuable 1-on-1 care and mentorship from their instructor. No horse experience is necessary - we are beginner friendly.
Contact Ciara Stoner at Ciara@takeheartcounseling.com with any questions.
To schedule connected horsemanship lessons, individual lessons, family lessons, etc:
Click on HERE to schedule your lesson.
Connected Horsemanship Lesson Fee: $60 per hour
Check our event page for upcoming clinics!