Equine Assisted Personal Development

Equine Assisted Personal Development is becoming increasingly used in therapeutic settings. In fact it has been part of the recent rehabilitation treatment that ex-footballer Paul Gascoign underwent at the Sporting Chance Clinic.

E.A.P.D is a collaborative effort between a horse professional and a licensed therapist where the horses become the focus of the talk. It is through discussing the way a person interacts with a horse that ‘hot’ emotional topics can be addressed. Horses are exceptionally accepting and forgiving in their interactions with humans and it is often their perceptive response to the human that provides the catalyst for open discussion. The therapy can be very intense and effective and shows results more quickly than traditional ‘talking’ therapies. It can be used as a short-term approach to open the pathways to emotional growth and learning – the cornerstone of mature development.

2Most of E.A.P.D. takes place on the ground and involves setting up games, activities and tasks for the human which involve the horses. Skills of  non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, taking responsibility, teamwork and relationships, self-confidence, and changing attitudes can all be developed within E.A.P.D.

At New Direction we have had considerable success in using E.A.P.D. with our pupils. We have found it helps our pupils develop self awareness and greater self-confidence. We have also used it with their families and found it a very rapid way of opening up discussion of the tensions and difficulties within family relationships which can then be addressed.


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