The certification of therapy horses is imperative for horses used in any kind of Equine Counseling. Whether or not, these powerful, magnificent healing animals are used in Equine Counseling for the emotional growth of clients, the need for certification is great. The public’s safety and the therapy horse’s humane treatment are the first areas of importance for CTHA. Thus, prerequisite training and documented hours in the field and during each counseling session is vital. As well as weekly documentation whether or not the therapy horse is being used for counseling or not. Other forms of providing these standards are: regular veterinary check-ups, shod, health/feed records, posting of personal rights for complaints, unannounced inspections, incident reports, complaint investigations, and collaboration with other governing boards. These and other guidelinges have been established to maintain and add credibility to the experiential approach to counseling, which in turn ensures public safety, the humane treatment of these professionals, and enhance scientific research.
Moreover, we believe that it is important for the public, the realm of Human Services, those professionals that are trained, all that seek training, and any interested parties that a clear understanding of Equine Assisted Therapy/Counseling (EAT/EAC) is given. A definition of EAT/EAC has been given to us to use by Pegasus ECT. It is the standard that we encourage all to read and to use:
EAT/EAC is an emerging field in which Certified Therapy Horses are used as significant partners with the collaboration of Certified Equine Assisted Therapists/Counselors and Certified Equine Specialists. EAT/EAC is client based counseling that provides hands-on opportunities to experience new solutions, and tools for effectively managing an individual’s chemical dependency, healthy risk taking, and self-steem strategies. Moreover, EAT/EAC promotes the process of change from unhealthy communication patterns to successful ones by captivating and embracing attention. EAT/EAC is done with 3 Professionals, the Counselor, the Horse Professional, and the Horse. It needs to be done with the utilization of all appropriately trained Staff and horses only, which are Board Certified. The skills and tools that individuals and groups get to pick up are: heathy risk taking, fear awareness, and Self-Esteem Strategies. Overall, 90% of all the Equine Counseling is done on the ground, not on the horse. When the individual is on the horse, it is usually without a saddle or bridle, so it is very important that he or she practice the emergency dismount several times with instruction, supervision, and at various gaits. However, most of the sessions are on the ground.