Helping children and adults with equine therapy

Posted on June 28, 2018

Equine Therapy: Connecting and Centering

Horses can be barometers of our own feelings; they sense fear and agitation, joy and calmness. It’s for this very reason that horses are an integral part of Trio Equine Therapy. Whether a student, and a student can be a young child right up to an older adult, is working on horsemanship or riding, the horse provides calm, nonverbal feedback.

“We provide the services of Equine Facilitated Learning, Physical and Occupational Therapy incorporating the equine as treatment tool/strategy and adaptive riding instruction,” shares Lauren Shaeffer, founder, owner and physical therapist. “Horses are fascinating in that they are prey animals, they are keenly aware of their environment. Humans can be considered to be a predator, if someone comes up and they are anxious or really exited, the horse feels that emotion and they may shy away.

“We teach about connecting, and self centering skills; breathing and relate that to different life and school situations or social interactions. Coping skills are easier to do with a horse then translate that into where they are having the most difficulty in their life, at home, taking tests, at school in community.”

Trio Equine Therapy came about in 2014 and has served numerous clients. Kids and adults can benefit from using a horse as a therapeutic partner and as an unique healing opportunity. Trio offers four areas of service but really specializes in two: Hippotherapy and Equine Facilitate Learning. Participants ride as well as work on horsemanship, where they learn to lead the horse, brush it and get it ready.

Hippotherapy is where physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology professionals apply best practices to create functional changes in a participant. 

Equine Facilitated Learning where the therapists use the horse as a teaching tool for kids and or adults who have social emotional learning challenges. “The Trio EFL Program is a blending of several principals including Gestalt Therapy to facilitate personal growth, social and emotional development, and other life skills through equine interactions. These activities can include ground work or mounted riding with our equine partners.”

“We see kids through adults with history of PTSD or learning disabilities, bullying issues, domestic or sexual abuse. We work through activities with horse and horsemanship to illuminate and improve self confidence and self awareness,” Lauren explains. “We help kids with mindfulness and empowerment and different life skills.” She adds that EFL can work in conjunction with talk therapy.

Adaptive Riding helps with cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs, focusing on teaching riding skills to individuals whom may need specialized instruction and adaptations. 

Trio is a member of the two governing organizations: The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and American Hippotherapy Association.

“Our organization is members of both of those associations, which is pretty important because we are following industry guidelines; the evidence and research and that comes along with the field.”

Most programs are offered one-on-one but there are also group lessons. Trio operates out of the Eagle County Fairgrounds and run sessions throughout the year. Trio accepts kids, who are interested in the health sciences and/or equine science fields, to learn more about what we do through volunteering or shadowing. The must be in 9th grade or older. Contact information for Trio: 970-306-7505 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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