Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is also referred to as Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW), Equine Facilitated Counselling (EFC), and Equine Facilitated Mental Health (EFMH). It is a span of treatments that consist of activities with horses and other equines which contribute to human physical and psychological health. This is facilitated by a licensed therapist and a horse specialist who engage a client with grooming, feeding, ground exercises, and other pertinent activities while processing target thoughts and feelings. EAP does not necessarily involve riding as it is believed that the mere presence of horses is already therapeutic. However, riding also provides a marvelous form of assistance for both physical and emotional therapy program. Interestingly, the first know mention of the use of horses in therapy comes from a Greek named Xenophon who wrote about horsemanship in the 5th century BC.
This kind of therapy has been famous for the rehabilitation of Jaycee Dugard who was abducted at the age of 11 by Phillip Greg Garrido and Nancy Garrido in 1991. Dugard was kept in captivity for 18 years, was repeatedly raped, and gave birth to two daughters; she was freed in 2009 after the Garridos’ arrest. Dugard went into therapy and shared how EAP helped her face her traumatic past. Interestingly, President Obama, during his administration, allocated significant funds to utilize EAP help the rehabilitation process of veterans.