This is a video that explaining equine therapy using the eagala model.


(EAP) Equine assisted Psychotherapy uses  horses experientially for mental, behavioral health therapy and personal development.  It is a collaborative effort between a licensed psychotherapist and a horse professional working together with the clients and horses to address treatment goals.  Because of its intensity and effectiveness, it is considered a short-term, or “brief” approach. The advantage EAP has over traditional physchotherapy is that horses are big, powerful, dynamic and intuitive animals that will mirror what is going on with the client.

EAP is experiential in nature.  This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns.  This approach has been used  by therapists, treatment facilities, and human development programs around the world with huge success..  Not all programs or individuals who use horses practice Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.  For one, licensed and properly qualified  mental health professionals need to be involved.  The focus of EAP is not riding or horsemanship.  The focus of EAP involves setting up ground activities involving the horses which will require the client or group to apply certain skills.  Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, leadership, problem solving, teamwork, are several examples of tools utilized and developed by EAP.

EAP is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, famlies, and groups.  EAP addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, ADD,  PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs.

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is similar to EAP but where the focus is on learning or educational goals.  EAL still involves the team of mental health professional and horse professional working with the clients and horses.  The focus however is on education and learning specific skills as defined by the individual or group, such as improved product sales for a company, leadership skills for a school group, or resiliency training for our military warriors.

The potential applications for both EAP and EAL are limitless!  For more information on the possibilities, contact Rose at 805-551-6336 or rsullivanse@gmail.com.


Horses can impact the physical and mental health as well as the quality of life for adults and kids with disabilities, victims of sexual abuse,  domestic violence, child abuse, and those with problems related to anorexia, substance abuse and autism.  They can also help those suffering from depression, anger management, veterans suffering from PTSD and behavioral issues such as ADD and those in bereavement.

Horses offer several advantages of healing.  Size is the first, as they are large, powerful and magnificent animals.  Horses are very intuitive to feelings, moods and attitudes of humans because of the similarities in the roles within their herds to human dynamics.  They are excellent for teaching patience, honesty, communication, trust, leadership, affection and how to nurture.

Recent studies conducted by the Institute of HeartMath provide a clue to explain the bidirectional “healing” that happens when we are near horses. According to researchers, the heart has a larger electromagnetic field and higher level of intelligence than the brain: A magnetometer can measure the heart’s energy field radiating up to 8 to 10 feet around the human body. While this is certainly significant it is perhaps more impressive that the electromagnetic field projected by the horse’s heart is five times larger than the human one (imagine a sphere-shaped field that completely surrounds you). The horse’s electromagnetic field is also stronger than ours and can actually directly influence our own heart rhythm!
Horses are also likely to have what science has identified as a “coherent” heart rhythm (heart rate pattern) which explains why we may “feel better” when we are around them. . . .studies have found that a coherent heart pattern or HRV is a robust measure of well-being and consistent with emotional states of calm and joy–that is, we exhibit such patterns when we feel positive emotions.
A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adjust to stressful situations very efficiently. Often times, we only need to be in a horses presence to feel a sense of wellness and peace. In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits while interacting with horses, including lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain surppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy.”


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