A Holistic Approach in Keeping, Training and Working with Horses - Example of Good Practices - Irena Gubina

In her video presentation, Irena will focus on a holistic approach in keeping, training and working with horses. She will give examples of good practices in the area of horse-oriented care and setting of living environment, bitless and straightness training benefits, and how they can be experienced in four areas: learning to ride, therapeutic work, nature reserve horses and solving behavioral issues in overworked horses.


Enriching the Therapy Horse’s Life and Welfare Through Classic Training, not-so Classic Training and the Alexander Technique - Tanya H. Bevilacqua

This presentation discusses how the welfare of therapy horses in equine interaction programs can be enhanced through a well care program and why there should be such a program in place. Many programs are at a loss as to how to maintain the emotional, behavioral and body health of their therapy horses. This leads to horses under duress, increase in costs for care and a turn over rate that may be high. Additionally, animal welfare is in the public domain of awareness. It is essential the therapeutic horse industry demonstrate high standards of welfare practices.


The presentation will describe what characteristics develop in horses when they are struggling in their lives as therapy horses. It will also detail the general application in any equine interaction program of a well care program that takes into account the physical, behavioral and mental welfare and wellness of its therapy horses. The Alexander Technique will be discussed to detail how the addition of this type of practitioner to a well care program further supports how therapy horses benefit from the practice that promotes balance between mind and body and teaches them to become an active participant in their own health and welfare.


Additionally, a detailed description of what a well care program looks like, its elements of importance, the horse’s schedule, structure, and execution will be given. It will describe the role of the trainer and Alexander Technique practitioner and what the application of education and Alexander Technique work does for the horse.


Intertwined Wellness: An Ethic of Equine Assisted Therapies Through Ecopsychology - Katherine Causbie

 Historically, psychology has “stopped at the city limits,” not reaching “beyond family and society to address the nonhuman habitat” (Roszak, 1995, p. 2). More recently, psychology has turned from a focus on individual processes to include more interpersonal and social factors. The next progression is to extend the study to consider the non-human environment (Fisher, 2013a). Ecopsychology necessitates an evaluation of the relationship between a person and his or her surroundings, including the planet and the diversity of life forms found within. It mandates that addressing human suffering must also involve addressing the suffering of the rest of the planet, as the two are inseparable.

Interactions with animals are a way to address that therapeutic sphere. Animal-assisted therapies have been
around since the 9th century in Belgium, where animals were used to support people with physical disabilities(Bustad & Hines, 1984), and have now been defined as “a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part” (“Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Overview”). However, this idea takes another dimension in an ecopsychological context, where embedded realizations about animals and what they represent to and about us humans take precedence over the animals being used for an immediate fix. This is especially powerful in equine assisted therapies, as horses are archetypically representative of a profound strength in connection and community, oppressed by an industrial conquest paradigm that superimposed a militant and dominating agenda on the horse (Kohanov, 2001).

There is a strong case for the benefits of integrating equine assisted therapies with ecopsychology, and I explore
this idea in regards to Roszak’s principles of ecopsychology (2001). I will argue that this combination is beneficial to the welfare of both horse and human: that an ecopsychological model, firstly, provides an experience more ethical to the horse in the implications of acknowledging their presence as a fellow ecological being, not a tool, and secondly, offers a deeper healing for the human: reaching past addressing mere symptoms and into
demanding a reassessment of the values and assumptions held about experiences of self, other, and object.


The Implications of Equine Well-Being for the Human-Equine Relationship: The Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ Approach, Segment B - Rise van Fleet

Following on from Segment A, this segment of the presentation shows the central role of relationship in Animal Assisted Play Therapy™. It covers the definition, theory, and principles that form the foundation of AAPT, followed by practical applications of this unique approach through the use of case study and/or video example. It also covers the goodness-of-fit model for ensuring the best working environment for individual animals, and ways in which therapists ensure that the horses actually enjoy, not merely tolerate, the interactions are discussed. 


Secure Attachment for All - Michelle Holling-Brooks

The presentation is focused on exploring, teaching, and experiencing how to empower yourself, your horses, and your clients through a foundation of common language that helps to build a solid foundation of secure attachment for all. During this presentation we will explore, through the framework of attachment theory, how to support the horses and the clients with a common language that can be used as a starting place to learning the skills of building a relationship based on trust, respect, and willingness. This framework allows the clients the ability to embody a felt sense of the 4's of a secure attachment right from the start, feeling safe, seen, soothed, and secure. The presentation will build on the framework discussed to teach the beginning skills we start ever client with so that they, and the horses, are not “lost” when they first start working with horses in equine assisted therapies and/or coaching sessions. Participants will gain a set of skills and tools that they can start implementing right away with their horses and clients that lay the foundation of the secure attachment needed for clients to explore and dive into their treatment/educational goals with the horses while in relationship mode verses task mode.

To learn more about the presenters and their approach to equine assisted therapies visit - www.UnbridledChange.org


Equine Wellbeing in the Turning Point Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, accredited through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) - Rachel Royston

Therapeutic Riding horses are amazing partners in healing and hope. Approximately 2 of 10 horses have the physical soundness paired with the emotional gift to participate in therapeutic riding programs. Turning Point Ranch, a PATH Intl Premier Accredited Center, has developed a process of critical identification, thorough training and long term care for both the physical and emotional needs of our horses. Our equine partners are staying engaged, curious and willing as they offer healing and hope to those who need them.


EquiLateral: Equine Wellbeing in the Equine-Assisted EMDR Protocol (EA-EMDR) - Sarah Jenkins

EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitizing Reprocessing) is a research and evidence-based integrative therapy for the treatment of trauma and was created by Francine Shapiro Ph.D. over thirty years ago. EquiLateral ™ is the Equine-Assisted EMDR (EA-EMDR) protocol. Practitioners trained in EA-EMDR seek to provide clinically sound EMDR therapy whilst mindfully utilizing equine-assisted interactions to support EMDR’s eight-phased, three-pronged approach. Drawing from this model, this highly interactive presentation will provide attendees with the rationale for, and implications of, partnering with the equine in EA-EMDR, especially regarding the monitoring of equine and client welfare. The ethics of partnering with the equine will be addressed, including an exploration of the concept of window of tolerance for both client and equine, especially when working with clients with complex trauma and structural dissociation. Participants will learn via an in-depth case study, videos, and didactic discussions.