Equine therapy is one of the fastest-growing methods of physical and mental treatment. The necessity of physical interaction between human and animal, as well as the sensitivity horses have to human emotion and non-verbal cues, make equine therapy an ideal option for people who have been physically abused or have emotional issues. Riding involves balance and use of mental concentration that can be helpful in many types of rehabilitation.
The first step in equine therapy training is to choose a program for certification and get certified. There are dozens of schools and courses across the country that offer certification in equine therapy, but there are also many different kinds. From hippotherapy that concentrates on the horse's movements to help with various physical handicaps, to Equine Facilitated Learning; there are many options to learning equine therapy. Do your research and homework and choose the method that holds the most interest for you.
In most cases, becoming certified will require some serious effort on the part of the student. There will need to be extensive horse experience, as well as riding experience, before you can test for your final certification. In cases where there is little to no horse experience, it may take years before you can get certified in equine therapy. If you have riding and horse experience, your road to certification and full-fledged equine therapy will be much shorter.
In addition to ground experience and riding proficiency, the equine therapy training program will consist of learning the various methods of handling and working with the patients who are being served. Depending on whether the patient's problems are physical or mental, the therapist will work with the riders in different ways. Emotional-needs patients are very different than riders with physical handicaps. The methods of training for these various types of therapy will be very different.