Of Horse

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Volunteering Your Horses for Equine Therapy
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Volunteering Your Horses for Equine Therapy

The therapeutic value of riding horses goes back hundreds of years. Today it is used to help people both young and old to not only overcome physical disabilities, but also emotional challenges as well. While some horses are donated into equine therapy programs, others are trained and volunteered.

Why Volunteer Your Horse?

Therapy horses come from all over. Generally, they’re animals that have developed a debilitating ailment that prevents them from being used for their primary purpose. When this happens, few people can afford to keep up the costs when getting nothing in return. For those animals, going into the equine therapy program offers them a second career, and a second chance at life.

Looking It Right in the Mouth

Horses are donated to therapy programs daily. A surprisingly small number of them are actually accepted. This leaves most owners stumped. If they’re giving their animal for free, why would they not just take it? According to Sandy Webster, program and education director at J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center in San Juan Capistrano, CA, she defines a solid therapy horse as having the three following traits:

  1. Friendly temperament and ability to toleration lots of attention, including a low flight response
  2. An average height between 14-16 hands
  3. Three good, clear gaits at the walk, trot, and canter

Good for the Horse, Good for the Kids

The benefits of equine therapy are vast. Improvement is seen in people with physical disabilities, psychological issues, as well as troubled teens that have difficulty understanding trust and empathy. The different forms of equine-assisted activities build positive relationships between rider and horse.

For the horse, the training they undergo in order to become solid animals ready for that type of work helps them become more confident in themselves and their ability to express themselves to people safely. The right training will teach the horse how to think for themselves, giving them the freedom to respond in a situation that is beneficial both for the rider and the horse.

The horses that do well form bonds to the workers and find fulfillment in the work they do.

Is It Right for You?

There are many good reasons to volunteer your horse for use in equine therapy, and just as many incredible ranches and centers that have need. If your animal fits the criteria, then equine therapy may be exactly what could give your animal a second life.


Sources: Pet Finder, Horse Sense for People


Tyler Jacobson is a writer, father, and husband, with experience in outreach and content writing for parenting organizations and ranches for troubled teen boys. His areas of focus include: straightforward parenting, education tactics, problems from social media, mental illnesses, detrimental addictions, and issues teenagers struggle with today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

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