What Happens in Beachwood’s Equine Therapy?

At Beachwood clients do not ride horses or take care of them; the emphasis is on curative not palliative care.  Nor does the Center use rescue or donated horses, but requires selected European breeds, bred for the strength and intelligence required for the intricate levels of dressage competition. “It takes just as much time and effort to select a horse suitable for this work as it does for you to find a horse that you hope can reach Grand Prix in four to six years,” said Lynne.

“Horses are objective readers of people, as they must accurately observe their environment to survive as a prey animal.  “They’re constantly aware of who’s around them.  And, unlike dogs or other pets, horses don’t rely on the direct influence of the people they interact with to take care of them.”

Phipps explains further. “A horse’s response is quite subtle. They move closer or farther away creating a safe space for themselves as the client feels and reacts to their own internal issues: with a horse one is never judged, shamed or embarrassed.”

In the Beachwood protocol the horse/therapist combination leads a client to achieve a state of calmness and emotional relaxation from which they can replace their automatic reactions shifting their perspective to a more normal response: technically they are building new neural pathways and strengthening existing useful synapses.

Results - Brown University has established an ongoing study to evaluate the results of our evidence-based work.  “Early examination of the data shows consistent decreases in depression, anxiety and stress scores. Patients are also reporting improvements in their subjective sense of well-being…”

We are quite excited about the case studies that have been collected. As all client information is highly confidential we can only outline a few examples.

Typically, a Beachwood client requires 7 sessions (1 ½ hours each), to resolve their trauma or establish new responses.