The EAGALA model is a ground based (non-riding) co-facilitated model where the therapist/coach, the equine specialist, and the horse work as a team in a solution- oriented approach with a focus on human skills, not horse skills. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy or Equine Assisted Learning and Development is about the horses effecting change in people’s lives. The experience of the process that occurs through engaging in activities with the horses allows people to safely externalize or project “real life” interactions through metaphorical learning as the horse responses provide symbolic representation. The horses provide information that increases awareness of current human behavior patterns whereby client(s) develop insight about the function of those patterns and about if/how to change them.

In some cases, the mere fact that you are engaging in an activity with an extremely large, heavy, and powerful animal provides enough discomfort and challenge for you to do some serious “work” around overcoming fears, facing challenges, and building confidence. In other cases the healing, growth, and learning occurs as a result of the relational context that plays out between horse to horse and horse to person/group:

equine-assisted-therapy_smHorses are social animals with defined roles within the herd where behavior principles such as dominance/submission, aggression/assertiveness, management/leadership, commitment/trust are all present and at play providing unlimited and undefined opportunities to gain awareness, practice, develop, or change patterns related to any of the following interpersonal and intrapersonal social dynamics:

  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Assertiveness training
  • Stress management
  • Leadership (soft skills)
  • Team work/group dynamics
  • Relationship skills and emotional intelligence
  • Problem solving/decision making/creative thinking
  • Change management
  • Communication skills

Horses are emotional animals with personalities, attitudes, and moods and are sensitive to non-verbal communication from humans responding to the energy and intention of the human’s “messages” in the moment whereby humans can connect to the horse and the environment in a relational manner providing an opportunity to work through emotional roadblocks to find balance and wellness by means of any of the following intrapersonal skills:

  • Mindfulness
  • Emotional intelligence and self-regulation
  • Storytelling
  • Anger management
  • Coping skills and self-care
  • Trauma healing
  • Relationship skills
Learn more about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP).

Under the premise of Psychotherapy the model is adapted to address the treatment needs related to symptoms associated with mental health conditions.

Learn more about Equine Assisted Learning (EAL).

Under the premise of Learning and development the model is adapted to address the learning goals with a focus on personal development, coaching, or team development and leadership skills.