Our Equestrian Program offers Equine-Assisted Therapy for the youth at New Directions. Today’s Equine-Assisted Therapy programs evolved from thousands of years of therapeutic methods involving horses. The earliest recorded mention of equine therapy is in the writings of Hippocrates, a Greek physician born in 460 BCE. He wrote about hippotherapy, derived from “hippos,” the Greek word for horse.
Equine Therapy, also known as Equine-Assisted Therapy, is an innovative, experiential approach that actively involves horses in mental health treatment. A powerful, evidence-based modality, Equine-Assisted Therapy is also referred to as equine therapy, horse therapy, therapeutic riding, and equestrian therapy. Through horse-based activities, participants gain confidence, build trust, and form healthier boundaries. Moreover, learning how to work with and take care of a horse, with the guidance of an equine therapist, helps participants practice empathy and develop authentic connections.
This form of therapy is particularly effective for teens as it allows them to address emotions and issues through direct experience and nonverbal communication. Consequently, it can be especially helpful for participants who are resistant to traditional therapy.