• Residential Treatment Center for Teens 14-17

Equine Therapy


Building Healthier Relationships through Equine Therapy

In equine therapy, students learn about communication and relationships. The horses provide a powerful mirror for our students– reflecting their moods as well as verbal and nonverbal communication from the student. This mirror from the horses enables our students to evaluate and change their communication patterns and relationship styles.

Equine therapy can help teens show a marked improvement in:

• Self-esteem
• Empathy
• Impulse control
• Independence
• Problem-solving skills

For instance, when students learn the concepts of pressure and release with horses during a session, they can begin to understand how to apply and respond to these similar pressures in relationships with friends and family. With this knowledge, students learn to improve communication and how to be constructively assertive. Equine therapy at Solstice East residential treatment center builds emotional regulation, better communication skills, self-awareness, and mindfulness.


Group Therapy With Horses

Some of our students work with horses in a group therapy setting. The equine therapy groups utilize a combination of the EAGALA model and Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP). 

The EAGALA model helps students identify how they function within groups. Students participate in a variety of activities in groups with horses that help them better understand how they interact with peers and their family. After utilizing the EAGALA model, students transition into using the TF-EAP model. 

Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy helps students better understand patterns about themselves such as how they are communicating with others, the boundaries they set for themselves, and how safe they feel around people. We are able to identify these patterns based on a student’s interaction with the horses. We discuss and address the patterns we perceive during TF-EAP during family therapy and individual therapy sessions.


How Equine Therapy Relates to Life

Over time, people can develop relational patterns that become entrenched and damaging to building healthy, productive relationships. These patterns are typically a result of loss, stress, depression, trauma, or pathology. While these patterns may at one time have helped them survive, they have become problems that undermine intimacy, trust, and understanding in one’s relationships.

Horses are emotional creatures and react to the mood of whoever is in their presence. When a student works with a horse, they receive honest, immediate feedback that is completely informed by the way a student communicates verbally and non-verbally with the horse in the moment. This enables students to receive this honest feedback and adjust communication patterns with others based on this information.

Healing Starts Here

Contact our team for more details on our therapeutic program.