Programs that provide opportunities for individuals with any of a wide range of disabilities and others (e.g., victims of assault or abuse, people who have recently suffered a tragic loss, incarcerated offenders, at risk youth) to relate to, handle, groom and ride horses as a part of an experiential habilitation or therapy program in which the horse serves as a co-facilitator or co-therapist. Equestrian therapy provides an experience with horses that fosters growth, communication skills, self-esteem, self-awareness, healing and personal transformation. Clients learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then discussing feelings, behaviours and patterns. Therapy goals for different populations may differ, e.g., treatment for children with autism may focus on behaviour modification and improvement.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.