Equine-Assisted Learning

Equine-Assisted Learning for Addiction Treatment in Tampa, FL


People practice forms of equine therapy all around the world. The use of horses in treating human conditions began in trauma-based injury recovery and quickly spread to other modalities, particularly in the mental health field. Doctors soon discovered the benefits of treating mental health disorders like anxiety and depression through treatments like:

  • Equine-assisted therapy (EAT).
  • Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP).
  • Equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP).
  • Equine-facilitated learning (EFL).
  • Equine-assisted learning (EAL).

Studies have found that equine therapy is most beneficial as an aspect of addiction treatment and Recovery. 

At 7 Summit Pathways, EAL is one of the many addiction treatment options we integrate into our holistic therapy options. Horses tend to mimic the humans in front of them, internalizing their feelings and reflecting them back on the person. This connection makes equine-assisted learning and therapy an invaluable part of the healing process for some, as patients can see in real-time how their actions affect the world around them.

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How Is Equine-Assisted Learning Used in Addiction Treatment?

Creating boundaries is an integral part of addiction Recovery, and who better to learn boundaries from than the experts? If you treat a horse in a way it doesn’t like, you’ll know immediately. Equine-assisted learning allows our patients to observe and work with horses in a judgment-free zone to practice respecting limits and establishing boundaries of their own.

how is equine assisted learning used in addiction treatment

Even though we can’t communicate with horses through spoken language, body language is essential to each interaction, giving a patient the chance to build communication skills. People are less likely to feel like they’re being judged or criticized by animals, so they’re more comfortable with the interaction. This interaction can give a therapist more insight into the patient. 

Furthermore, interacting with a horse forces one to stay in the moment and care for someone else. Often, our patients may use alcohol or drugs to treat traumas both old and new. You can get caught up in your own head and have trouble focusing on the present. The act of caring for a horse and staying focused on the animal’s needs and emotions can help break patients out of this cycle.

How Does Equine-Assisted Learning Work?

You cannot overlook the benefits of equine-assisted learning for substance abuse disorder. While EAL is about riding horses, it’s more about building a trusting relationship with the horse. This connection can help ease patients’ feelings of isolation and allows our therapists to observe how patients see themselves and build interpersonal relationships.

Other proven benefits of EAL include gaining:

  • Self-awareness and mindfulness.
  • Confidence and assertiveness.
  • Strength to resist negative emotions.
  • Focus and memory skills.
  • Emotional growth.
  • The ability to form connections and establish boundaries.
  • Posture, balance and coordination.
  • Impulse control.

How Is Equine-Assisted Learning Used at 7 Summit Pathways?

At 7 Summit Pathways, equine-assisted learning is part of our holistic therapy approach. We’ve found that it can be a valuable tool for anyone in our treatment programs, wherever they are in their journey. Due to timing and availability, EAL is currently limited to patients in our full-time and partial hospitalization programs. Our PHP programs have both day and night options, and once a week, we make time for them to visit our stable and interact with the horses.

equine assisted learning in tampa fl

About Our Addiction Treatment Programs

Whether you’re searching for treatment for alcohol addiction, drug addiction or both, our team of addiction experts and doctors will help you come up with a plan for Recovery. Along with equine-assisted learning, your treatment might include medications and other holistic therapy methods, like meditation, yoga, acupuncture and expressive arts.

Depending on your needs, you may complete your program completely in-residence on our campus, through partial hospitalization or with our intensive outpatient program. You can learn more about all our treatment programs here.

Contact Us Today to Get Started

Addiction can make anyone feel hopeless, isolated and ashamed. Getting help might feel impossible. However, you know it’s time for a change if you want to retake control of your life.

7 Summit Pathways in Tampa, Florida, offers Recovery plans focused on holistic therapy. Our treatment plans are based on the 7 Dimensions of Wellness, ensuring that every patient receives the support they need in every aspect of their life. Our approach makes Recovery easier and more likely to stick for a long time. 

The journey to the Summit of your Recovery begins with the first step. Let us help you take it. Call us at 813-630-4673 or connect with us online to learn more about our programs and find your path today.