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SPIRIT Horse Model is exclusive in its design and delivery. SPIRIT stands for Supporting Peers In Recovery-based Interactive Therapy.

What makes the SPIRIT Horse program so different from all other equine assisted therapy is that this program is delivered and created by someone who is a peer. Peer support programs work by offering people support, encouragement, and hope that recovery is possible. Peer support considers the wellness of the whole person and focuses on health and recovery rather than illness and disability, in order to assist people in finding their own path to recovery. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to peer support. It can take many different forms. We provide peer support with the assistance of horses.   

This program is based on the participant and facilitator sharing experiences and exploring solutions with the horse as a mirror for self reflection. The horse gives and receives energy from the client, giving healing energy and removing negative energy.

Sessions are based on the idea that each person is on a journey and there will be challenges but trusting in the process and moving forward will bring about the desired result. A horse lives in the moment and uses instinct of fight or flight to guide them. Through interaction with horses participants are able to explore what living in the moment means through creating a partnership with a horse. The structure of the session is based on the participant and horse interacting in the place that they feel comfortable working in. The participant has control of their recovery process with the horses which results in very positive and powerful outcomes that are solution focused.

Our SPIRIT Horse programs may include other equine activities; and may differ from other models. This program may focus personal development, team building, work skills and other aspects of the individual or group learning.

Participants will discuss with the Facilitating Team the appropriate program that may best meet their needs.

What is Equine-Assisted Programs?

Equine Assisted Programs, are one of the most effective forms of experimental therapies. Spirit Horse uses interactive activities with horses in place of traditional sessions where you “talk” and a therapist “listens”. You might be familiar with other types of experiential therapies including: adventure and wilderness therapy, and expressive therapies that use art and music. People just like you are just choosing these services because they are able to get better results in a shorter amount of time than traditional services.

Not only does Spirit Horse work, it is much more enjoyable than typical talk therapy. With Spirit Horse, sessions are designed to meet your unique needs. The activities in each session require you and the horse to accomplish a specific goal. Your reaction to the horse, and the horses reaction to you, not only helps “show” where sticky spots are, but better to communicate and interact with others to accomplish your personal goals. With Spirit Horse you will discover new, more effective solutions for the challenges in your life.

Do I need to have riding experience?

No. Spirit Horse is not about riding but instead it is often horsemanship activities are on the ground. Riding is sometimes a piece of the program but not the focus. The only requirement is that you dress appropriately for working with the horse in the barn, pasture or arena. Shoes that cover toes are essential.

What kinds of activities can I expect?

Participants will be guided through various experiences with the horses which include:

  • watching the dynamics of the horses and herd
  • identifying relationships and dynamics in the herd
  • entering the herd to catch a horse
  • trust exercises with the horses
  • learning to communicate with a horse
  • experiencing how horses can show how to live better lives
  • building symbolic obstacles to accomplish with the horse
  • individual and/or group tasks with the herd
  • symbolic painting on the horses
  • having fun with the horses

Horses have an undeniable ability to bring about change in people; they mirror a situation and show us the best and worst of ourselves. Clients will build relationships with the horses that will allow for an open path of learning to help the client make changes for their recovery. A facilitator who is also an equine specialist is present during the sessions. 

Spirit Horse can be useful in solving a wide variety of problems that affect people of all ages:

  • Behavioral issues
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Substance Abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Abuse Issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship issues
  • Communication Problems
  • Thought Disorders
  • Operational Stress Disorder

How will I benefit?

Through specifically designed sessions, you will learn valuable skills such as:

  • Non-Verbal Communication
  • Assertiveness
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Leadership
  • Responsibility
  • Teamwork
  • Relationship building
  • Confidence / Self-Esteem
  • Positive Attitude