Here's some answers to questions we get asked most often here at Horse Sense. All the questions are listed at the top; answers in order below!
- I am afraid of horses. Can I still benefit from this type of therapy?
- What type of payment is accepted at Horse Sense? Do you accept insurance?
- Does Horse Sense operate all year-round? What happens during bad weather?
- What if I'm allergic to horses?
- What should I wear?
- Why Horses? Why not cows or chickens?
- Will we ride the horses?
- I'm very familiar with horses already. Will I get anything out of this?
- Do I need to have a professional referral for services?
- What documentation is required for a referral?
- What kind of client is appropriate for Horse Sense?
- How does Horse Sense work with clients in an inpatient/residential facility or in a group home?
- What kind of special training does the Horse Sense staff have?
I am afraid of horses. Can I still benefit from this type of therapy?
Absolutely! Working within Horse Sense’s supportive environment, it is your fear that may prove especially effective in breaking through old patterns and revealing important insights. No prior knowledge of horses and/or horsemanship is necessary, by the way.
What type of payment is accepted at Horse Sense? Do you accept insurance?
Many therapists at Horse Sense of the Carolinas accept BCBS as well as other different insurance programs. For private insurance that we do not accept, we provide you with the necessary paperwork to be reimbursed by your insurance company that you file. We encourage you to contact your insurance carrier before your first visit, and to be an informed consumer. We also accept cash, check and credit cards.
Does Horse Sense operate all year-round? What happens during bad weather?
We have covered and indoor facilities, which enables us to work year-round no matter what the weather. Obviously, we don’t work in severe or dangerous weather conditions, including bad storms or snow. We may opt to postpone and reschedule your session in these circumstances. We will contact you the day before or the day of if we see something concerning enough to warrant cancellation.
What if I'm allergic to horses?
Many folks who are allergic to horses have participated in Equine Therapy. We encourage folks to bring their own medication, including an EpiPen, if appropriate, to manage your condition. In many cases we can work around the allergy (perhaps at some distance from the horses? Perhaps in another way entirely?) so that you have a complete and exciting experience with minimal impact on you!
What should I wear?
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to show up at our barn in your finest designer clothing, but do dress comfortably, and dress to fit the weather. Due to our cool and sometimes unpredictable mountain climate, we advise dressing in layers. Sessions might start out at one temperature, but become much cooler or warmer as they progress. Close-toed shoes is recommended as well.
Horses are uniquely attuned to their environment, and to everyone in it. They are continually assessing leadership and communication skills in the people they encounter, and then respond honestly and without hesitation to that information. For this reason, they are invaluable resources in countless scenarios!
Will we ride the horses?
That depends on the type of treatment decided upon by your therapist and yourself or the program desired by your team. Trauma-Focused EAP includes Rhythmic Riding, specifically for the development of Self-Regulation skills, and may be appropriate for many clients. What kind of equine therapy is right for you will be determined by you and your therapist after the initial session.
I'm very familiar with horses already. Will I get anything out of this?
Absolutely. You may already be "ahead of the curve" a bit about what kind of feedback the horses can offer you about yourself, your communication and other aspects. Yet, you might also find that our horses respond differently than your horse or than other horses you are used to interacting with. We interact with horses in a very different manner than traditional horsemanship, and look forward to showing you horses through a new lens.
Do I need to have a professional referral for services?
No, anyone can call our offices to discuss if Equine Therapy is right for them.
What documentation is required for a referral?
Referring agencies or mental health professionals are invited to provide Horse Sense of the Carolinas with proper release forms signed by the clients so that important clinical information may be shared (such as assessments/evaluations, diagnosis, treatment goals, and progress notes). We also have a simple referral form with basic information for other professionals that they can complete and return to us for our records. Parents can also refer their children. No formal referral is necessary to seek services though!
What kind of client is appropriate for Horse Sense?
At Horse Sense, we offer two types of programs: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). Our therapy programs utilizes Trauma-Focused EAP and the EAGALA-model. EAP is effective for clients with mental health diagnoses and is ideal for individuals, couples, and families. EAL is about developing lifeskills, and is utilized for individuals seeking personal growth and development, schools, treatment centers/group homes, and for groups in professional development.
Each EAP client participates in an intake by our mental health professionals prior to beginning treatment to determine whether EAP is an appropriate form of therapy for their specific situation. The therapist may deem EAP inappropriate for the following:
- Clients with severe cognitive impairment
- Children under the age of six (due to safety issues)
- Clients with physical conditions that do not allow for safe interaction with horses
- Clients with agoraphobia
- Clients not taking their medication(s)
While we may work with those in recovery, people who are actively using drugs or are drunk/high are referred to rehabilitation programs. Likewise, we do not perform couples counseling when domestic violence is current; we recommend individual therapy for the safety of both parties. If you are uncertain whether EAP may an effective treatment for your situation, contact Horse Sense to discuss your situation.
How does Horse Sense work with clients in an inpatient/residential facility or in a group home?
We feel the most ideal and productive way to conduct Equine Assisted Therapy is at the Horse Sense facility, where we have access to the proper environment, tools, and individual horses that give us the most flexibility in any situation. However, we can occasionally provide on-site services for select clients, bringing our team of horses and EAP professionals directly to your facility. Call Horse Sense and talk to one of our staff for more information on how this might work for you.
What kind of special training does the Horse Sense staff have?
The therapists and equine specialists at Horse Sense are highly trained, both within their respective professions and by Natural Lifemanship, EAGALA, the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, PATH Int. and are knowledgeable about many other kinds of approaches. All staff are also trained in Horse Psychology and Herd Behavior, via Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Continuing education and training are an ongoing part of our educational process.