Equine assisted learning (EAL) is similar to equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP). EAP makes use of horses to provide emotional growth and learning in treating persons with mental health issues while EAL focuses on the learning and educational side of the treatment.
EAL is an experimental form of psychotherapy and learning performed by a combined team of horse professional and mental health professionals using equines. The intensity and nature of the horse is essential for helping the professionals to instruct patients with special needs on life and coping skills.
Equine assisted learning makes use of horses since horses are considered highly sensitive to different changes in a human being. The sensitivity of the horse provides the horse with the capability to react or respond to people, and in this case, with patients of different mental disorders based on the emotional condition of the individual. The vemoronasal organ of each horse makes the horse sense changes on mental state of the person and serves as a living biofeedback machine that gives the client as well as therapist with data regarding the mood of the patient and the changes in his or her mood. The actions or behavior of the horse change bsed on a decrease or increase of the patient’s anxiety.
Equine assisted learning also allows horses to provide a way to teach communication skills which would provide a better way of understanding and learning how or non-verbal communication might influence other people with our lives. The horses allows us to be aware of our surroundings any time such that a person should be observant when beside a horse so as to be safe in his or her present position. EAL also involves taking care of horses by which one can learn a good work ethic after dedicating time and effort in doing so. The patient handling the horse through the guidance of the medical expert can gain self confidence and self esteem while enjoying being with a horse and learning how to handle the horse.
EAGALA, which is a leading international nonprofit association for individuals using equine therapy to treat mental health and provide human developments needs, also certifies health professionals to provide EAP and EAL. It is the largest organization that focuses on EAP and EAL. EAGALA has a training and certification program which provides training tools that are adaptable to many environments including education, life and office therapy and which reliably impact the professional and personal life of the professional. The certification program of EAGALA involves the completion of the 3 days fundamental activity, which is a model practice training in two sets. The certified professionals can subject themselves to additional training to be advanced certified by EAGALA.