Evidence Base for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

The methods we use at Equiliberty are based on sound psychological principles. We use the EAGALA Model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning.

See  for further information and  for use of EAGALA in the military.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) has similarities with expressive therapies, as it is not based on talking, but rather on experiencing. In EAP we foster problem solving skills, use therapeutic metaphor to look at perceived limitations, allow behavioural practice and facilitate cognitive restructuring. Horses also present a visual cue to the client's level of agitation, hence allowing children with ADHD or ASD to become aware of their own arousal level and help them learn to control it.(See ABC TV program Compass: Horse Power: )

The Psychotherapy is lead by Dr Anja Kriegeskotten, a psychiatrist for children, adolescents and adults with a special interest in trauma, and Equine Specialists Tina Smith or Many Shapland, who have extensive experience in horse behaviour and horse-human interactions. We are certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), an International organisation with over 500 treatment programs world wide. We adhere to their code of ethics, as well as to requirements to practice Psychiatry in Australia, including the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) - former Medical Board.

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  2. Bowers M.J., MacDonald P.M. (2001) The effectiveness of equine-facilitated psychotherapy with at-risk adolescents, pilot study, Journal of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, 15, 62-76.
  3. Bray B. (2002) Treating adolescents using equine assisted psychotherapy: Effects on self-concept, anxiety and depression, Masters Thesis, Whitman College.
  4. Bachi K., Terkel J., Teichman M.(2011) Equine facilitated psychotherapy for at-risk adolescents: The influence on self-image, self-control and trust, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Sage publications).
  5. Carmichael T.(2010), Could a Horse help you and your clients? SWIFT AASW News Branch Newsletter. 
  6. Chardonnens, E. (2009). The use of animals as co-therapists on a farm: The child-horse bond in Person-Centered Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, 8(4), 319-332.
  7. Emory D. K. (1992) Effects.of therapeutic horsemanship on the self-concept and behaviour of asocial adolescents, Dissertation, University of Maine.
  8. Ewing C.A., MacDonald P.M., Taylor M., Bowers M.J. (2007) Equine-facilitated learning for youth with severe emotional disorders: A quantitative and qualitative study, Child Youth Care Forum, 36:59-72.
  9. Frewin K., Gardiner B. (2005), New age or old sage? A review of equine assisted psychotherapy, The Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology, 6, pp13-17.
  10. Greenwald A.J. (2001) The effect of a therapeutic horsemanship program on emotionally disturbed boys, Dissertation Abstracts International, 62.
  11. Hutchinson, J. (2009). Equine assisted psychotherapy: Horses are still helping us today   Unpublished manuscript.  Pioneer Pacific College.
  12. Jeffrey H., Anschel R. (2012) Operation sanctuary: Finding a way home,
  13. Kaiser L., Spence L.J., Lavergne A.G., Bosch K.L. (2004) Can a week of therapeutic riding make a difference?, A pilot study. Anthrozoos, 17,63-72.
  14. Karol, J. (2007). Applying a traditional individual psychotherapy model to equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP): Theory and Method. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 12(1), 77-90.
  15. Katcher A.H., Wilkins G.G. (1994) The use of animal assisted therapy and education with attention-deficit hyperactive and conduct disorders, Interactions, 12(4), 1-5.
  16. Klontz B.T., Bivens A., Leinart D., Klontz T. (2007) The Effectiveness of Equine Assisted Experiential Therapy: Results of an open clinical trial, Society and Animals 15, 257-267.
  17. Lancia J (2008) Ascent from Hell, EAP in the treatment of war veterans, EAGALA in Practice.
  18. MacDonaldP.M., Cappo J. (2003) Equine-facilitated therapy with "at-risk" youth: Does it work?, Strides, 9(3), 30-31.
  19. Nurenberg, J.R., Schleifer, S., Madara, B., Yellin, M., Desai, P., Shaffer, T., & Allen, A. (2011). Equine assisted psychotherapy for patients with severe chronic psychiatric disorders. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Honolulu, Hawaii
  20. Rothe, E.Q., Vega, J., Torres, R.M., Soler, S.M.C. & Pazos, R.M.M. (2005). From kids and horses: Equine facilitated psychotherapy for children. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 5(2), 373-383.
  21. Scheidhacker M., Friedrich D., Bender W. (2002) About the treatment of anxiety disorders by psychotherapeutic riding: Long term observations and results of an experimental clinical study, Krankenhausspsychiatrie, 13,145-152.
  22. Selby, A., Smith-Osborne, A. (2012). A systematic review of effectiveness of complementary and adjunct therapies and interventions involving equines. Health Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029188
  23. Shultz B.N. (2005) The Effects of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy on the psychosocial functioning of at-risk adolescents ages 12-18, Counseling Thesis, Denver Seminary, CO
  24. Tetrault A. (2006) Horses that heal: The effectiveness of equine assisted growth and learning on the behaviour of students diagnosed with emotional disorder, Master of Arts, Governors State University, Illinois.
  25. Trotter K.S. (2006) The efficacy of equine assisted group counselling with at-risk children and adolescents, Doctoral Dissertation, University of North Texas.
  26. Trotter K., Chandler C., Goodwin-Bond D., Casey J. (2008) A comparative study of the efficacy of group equine assisted counselling with at-risk children and adolescents, Journal of Creativity in Mental health, Vol. 3(3),254-284.
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  28. Schultz P., Remick-Barlow G., Robbins L. (2007) Equine Assisted Psychotherapy: A mental health promotion/intervention modality for children who have experienced intra-family violence, Health & Social Carein the Community 15(3),265-271. 

For further Supportive Research see 

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