Equine Assisted Therapy Programs

Working with a team of retired racehorses, Racing Hearts offers Equine Assisted Therapy programs to individuals and groups to assist them with whatever challenges life throws at them.

What is Equine Assisted Therapy? It’s essentially traditional counselling offered in a non-traditional way. Sessions are conducted in a similar fashion to traditional counselling while exercises with the horses are integrated in ways that are relevant and meaningful to the client.

Navigating the world can be a confusing time even without a mental health diagnosis. We focus on any challenges that clients feel are important to their wellbeing as well as focusing on helping to develop an awareness and understand the connection between our thoughts, physical feelings, emotions and behaviors and how to manage these in a healthy way.

Group of horses

Equine Assisted Therapy Session

 

Research has shown that when people come into contact with horses the area of the brain responsible for memory and emotion is activated therefore allowing the practitioner to have easier access to these processes that may be causing challenges for the client. When we practice exercises with the horses the client has the opportunity to experience change, this creates new neural pathways in the brain and therefore healthier coping mechanisms and behaviors. Furthermore, when people are in contact with horses, hormones such as oxytocin that are associated with feeling good and relaxation are released in the brain, assisting the client in relaxation. When clients are more relaxed they often find it easier to talk about their issues and this aids the practitioner in their treatment method.

After an initial consultation session with a client we agree on a plan moving forward. We can formulate a set program over a number of weeks or we can have open ongoing weekly or fortnightly sessions. The plan can easily be changed as we progress as it is important to be flexible and meet the clients needs.

We work with many clients with NDIS, DVC and other referrals and are always open to a conversation with you to establish how we can help.

Duration: up to 60 minutes

Cost: $190/session

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Equine and Art Assisted Autism Program

Our Equine and Art Assisted Autism Program is an innovative community participation program helping young people with Autism build the skills to thrive in life! Research results state that equine and art assisted interventions can have positive effects on many of the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Therefore, our program focuses on many of these symptoms including:

  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Sensory processing
  • Community participation and social phobias
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional regulation and expression
  • Social and personal communication
  • Cognitive processes
  • Physical difficulties

Clients take part in a range of on the ground and mounted activities with the horses and finish with an art based exercise to compliment the therapeutic goals of the session.

Program Duration: 8 weeks

Under 12’s: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Saturdays

Over 12’s: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Saturdays

Cost: $1200 (Can be claimed through NDIS packages)

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Taking the Reins Program

 

The Taking the Reins program is a ridden therapy program for groups or individuals run over a period of 6 week blocks. We aim to establish routine and foster a safe, trusting and respectful space where participants can share their thoughts, feelings and experiences without judgement.

Each session includes activities such as catching, grooming and saddling/unsaddling your own horse. Each riding session begins with a check in to establish how everyone is feeling, any events that have happened and anything that might be coming up in the near future.

Exercises are carried out with the support of the horses in the session. These sessions are not classed as riding lessons, however some basic riding instruction will be given for safety of the participants.

Both adult and youth groups are catered for.

Duration: Sessions are up to 60 minutes once a week for 6 weeks. Mid-week daytime, after school sessions and Saturday groups available.


Cost: $1000


Note: All participants must provide their own helmet that meets CURRENT approved safety standards.

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Domestic Violence Support Program

 

Coming Spring 2021.

The Domestic Violence Support Program is for women and children who have been impacted by domestic or intimate partner violence. Similar to our other programs, our Domestic Violence Support Program uses horses to assist in therapy sessions. Similar to normal therapy, except with the addition of horses, this program is designed to help create strategies of dealing with the trauma of being a domestic violence survivor. 

Beyond that, contact with horses is relaxing for many people, so the presence of a horse during a therapy session helps clients open up and release anxiety. In this way we help the client heal over time.

If applicable, programs can be tailored to work closely with your domestic violence organisation such as Orange Door, Salvation Army, or Good Sheppard.

We are still planning our Domestic Violence Support Program and will have more details soon. If you would like more information on this program when it becomes available, please get in touch.

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Employment Skills Program

 

Coming January 2022.

Starting in January 2022, this pilot program is being run in conjunction with local secondary schools to assist in engaging young students who find traditional schooling challenging and may also be struggling with other life challenges.

Students will engage in mental and physical health support as well as learn the skills to safely work with horses and investigate other job opportunities available in the various horse industries including turf management, administration and marketing and media. 

Students will also be enrolled in a certificate which can be completed as part of a VCAL program.

Each month, these students will be introduced to key sporting and industry coaches and identities who will assist in guiding and inspiring the students to investigate further study and employment pathways. 

This program will also incorporate a mentoring program where adults already involved in horse industries offer continuous support to students to assist them to stay in school, complete their studies and achieve their goals. Please get in touch for more information.

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School Programs

 

Our School Programs are designed to cater to Early Childhood, Primary, and Secondary students to offer Equine Assisted Therapy to young people.

School Programs are offered either at our facility in Moorooduc or can be brought to you to be conducted on site at a school. Each program runs over a block of 6 or 8 weeks with the children selected to participate in the program.

While we have a general program designed, before we begin we discuss specific needs for the group or the school so that we can create a flexible program as needed. However, most programs include themes of:

  • Life challenges
  • Awareness
  • Boundaries
  • Feelings
  • Thoughts
  • Relationships

We encourage you to get in touch to let us know the specific needs of your school. From there we’ll outline a program that suits.

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Collage of various Equine Assisted Therapy activities