Equine Therapy - Empowering Individuals Through Education and Service

    Equine Therapy - Empowering Individuals Through Education and Service

    Jean and Horse

    Thank you for your interest in USU Equine Experience, Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapy. Below you will find information on the application process and information about the activities that we offer. Our goal is to provide equine assisted activities that help our community members with cognitive, physical, and mental health challenges.

    During intake we can determine the most appropriate activity for you or your child. As PATH Intl. instructors, we look at benefits vs risks using our industry accepted precautions and contraindications, and best practices.


    Registration Process

    1. Complete application paperwork.

    2. Participant Application/Information Form and health history filled out by participant or parent/guardian. Please return before intake appointment so that we may screen for any precautions and contraindications.

    3. Intake appointment on site with a certified instructor. This initial meeting includes a review of medical information, determination if EAAT is appropriate and safe for the presenting condition, goals, discussion of services offered and a tour of the facility. Intakes normally last approximately 30-45 minutes.

    4. Schedule student for classes

    5. Physician Form: A physician must fill out this form. This form needs to be filled out and emailed or delivered two weeks prior to the first lesson. For your information, the physicians form includes a list of common precautions and contraindications to therapeutic riding.


    Class Information

    The first lesson can feel overwhelming for new students. We do our best to facilitate a smooth transition and positive experience for our participants. To help, we ask the following:

    • Students should wear hard-soled shoes with heels if possible.
    • Students need to wear jeans or long pants on program days.
    • Classes are 30 minutes long. Parents are asked to stay on-site during the class.
    • Students that may have sensory integration challenges with wearing a helmet should practice wearing the helmet before the lesson.
    • Most classes have two riders per class, private classes are available.
    • To ensure rider safety, we have a weight limit of 180 lbs for therapeutic riding participants.


    Programs and Activities Offered

    USU Equine Experience offers three equine assisted activities listed below. Each lesson will be tailored to your/your child's needs and goals. Instructors for the program have been certified by PATH (Professional

    Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International) and are well trained to ensure a safe learning environment for you and/or your child. Our programs use a team approach to help each participant maximize the benefits of their equine relationship. The participant, instructor, volunteers, and horse are this team. Our facility includes an outdoor and indoor arena to conduct equine activities in a comfortable and safe environment.

    The Therapeutic Riding Program seeks to improve: physical strength and conditioning, as well as cognitive abilities, self-confidence, communication, relaxation, and recreation. Horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait. This movement often helps riders with: flexibility, balance, muscle strength, coordination, postural alignment, increased range of motion, and relaxation of tone. The benefits of therapeutic riding have been recognized and used by many medical professionals, including: occupational, physical, speech, mental health, and recreational therapists.

    The Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) program is designed to enhance participants’ social skills, communication, and self-awareness. This program targets therapeutic goals set by the participant’s therapist, caregiver or instructor. This program includes groundwork with the horse and may include therapeutic riding when appropriate. Participants work with an equine specialist and/or a certified therapeutic riding instructor.

    The Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program is designed to enhance participants’ coping skills and help with psychological and emotional healing through equine interactions. EAP has been found to help with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, PTSD and in recovery from trauma. Participants in this program will work with an experienced, licensed mental health professional and an equine instructor.



    **Please send application to Michelle.Weed@usu.edu


    Michelle Weed, CRC
    Director of Equine-Human Sciences