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What is Equine-Assisted Intervention (EAI)?

Equine-Assisted Intervention (EAI) is an umbrella term that incorporates programmes that aim to improve human health and wellbeing. These interventions are based upon the emotional/physical relationship that is established between the human being and the horse. They can have recreational, educational, and/or therapeutic objectives.

Learning to bond and communicate with horses provides us the means to learn better ways of interacting with other human beings. In the process, horses are active participants to produce learning experiences for humans.


What happens during a typical session at HERD?

  • EAI is a unique and powerful experience where one learns from doing during our session

  • Clients undergo interactive, ground-based (non-riding) activities with our therapy horses

  • They also participate in reflections as part of the experiential process 

  • Each session is thoughtfully tailored and conducted by HERD's experienced Practioners based on the needs of our client

  • It may include horse grooming, feeding, in-hand work (i.e. taking the horse for walks, seeing new sights, grazing, etc.), ground games, etc.

Our Philosophy


Your needs guide the ways in which sessions at HERD are designed and implemented. Each session is tailored by our experienced Practitioners, and we are committed to support you as you actively take the reins with your equine-partner!


Horses lead the learning during sessions, and are at the heart of what we do. We consider horses to be central to the learning process, due to their extraordinary sensitivity and intuition.


There is no right or wrong; the experience is about you accomplishing goals in your own way! You are not judged on how you do things, instead, the focus is on examining what the horse is communicating, what is working for you, and what is not working. Debriefing from this perspective leads to powerful learning experiences for you.


A strengths-based approach focuses on the inherent strengths of individuals, families and groups, promoting empowerment and the enhancement of psychosocial well-being.

The experience is also not about riding or horsemanship skills; it takes place on the ground through activities involving horses. Therefore, zero horse experience in required!

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Benefits of EAI

“Being around horses can help people to learn self control of their behaviour and self regulation of their emotion”

- Dr Kirrilly Thompson, University of Newcastle

​EAI is facing an increasing popularity and a rise in scientific evidence of their efficacy. Studies have reported a variety of benefits of EAI, in particular, in the social, psychologicalemotional, physical, and educational domains.

Below are some of the benefits of EAI:

  • Increased trust

  • Reduced anxiety

  • Less feeling of depression and isolation

  • Increased self-esteem, self-acceptance, and social skills

  • Better impulse control

  • Enhanced attention span, concentration, sensory integration, and motor planning

  • Increased problem-solving skills

  • Improved communication skills, including non-verbal

  • Better understanding of healthy boundaries and the importance of assertiveness

  • Learn to get outside own negative, self-absorbed thoughts and nurture another creature

Why Horses?

There are many scientific reasons why horses are excellent at helping us to learn about ourselves and why we collaborate with them. Just being near horses or stroking them can reduce stress levels and increase a sense of wellbeing.


Here are a few more reasons why we love working alongside our equine-partners!


  1. Horses are majestic and their size offers a great opportunity for someone to overcome fear and develop confidence! Unlike smaller animals like dogs and cats, these gentle giants have a calming effect that is magnified by their size and empathy.

  2. As prey animals, horses have evolved to become particularly sensitive to their environment and to other nearby animals, including us! Therefore, they have the ability to mirror us, and attune themselves to human emotions.

  3. In order to survive, they respond immediately through various behaviours to, for example, signal to their herd a potential attack by a predator. Their high sensitivity to what's around them (including inconsistency, agitation and autonomic arousal) and ability to get straight to the point can provide us with immediate feedback and facilitate enhanced human insight and self-awareness to our actions, emotions and body language.

  4. Horses are straightforward in their relationships; they see us for what we are and not what we pretend to be or what others see us as. They don't judge, they also don't blame and won't tell our secrets. If we have difficulties opening up to others, horses can offer a non-judgemental relationship where one can practise building trust in a safe environment.

  5.  They have clear boundaries and say what needs to be said, when it needs saying. This honesty helps us to reach our own truth very quickly. They also provide us with metaphors and lessons about ourselves to help facilitate change.

  6. Horses experience a wide variety of emotions, are intuitive and social animals with distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. They have defined roles within their herds, and all these are comparable to human dynamics. Therefore, horses are fantastic partners who can demonstrate and teach us many relationship-building skills, such as self-awareness, honest communication, trust, boundaries, leadership, patience, assertiveness, affection, nurturance, and more.


Ready to join us for a session?

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