How does this type of service work?
Therapeutic riding and equine assisted programming offers a holistic approach to the development of the child or adult with special needs. The movement of a horse mimics the way an able-bodied person walks. During a riding session, a rider’s pelvis may move and rotate more than 2,000 times, which cannot be replicated on a machine in a gym or on a mat in a clinical setting. This movement allows dormant muscles to be activated, while also strengthening core, improving posture and working on gross and fine motor skills. For those with developmental disabilities, mounted activities can help reduce sensory defensiveness, improve listening skills and social interactions with peer groups.
From an unmounted perspective, horses are just as powerful – mirroring the way humans feel and reflect, which helps individuals process trauma and life experiences. An Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program, often performed in conjunction with talk therapy, helps clinicians and clients alike talk about experiences and outcomes, using horse and herd behavior as a tool. Programs like EAP can be utilized when working individuals and children who have experienced hardship or trauma. Through an Unmounted Horsemanship (UH) program, participants can learn elements of horse care and horse anatomy while also working on life skills and career development. Instructors utilize horsemanship to help improve learning or socialization skills.
Who is eligible to participate at Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida?
Children and adults with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, developmental and intellectual delays, as well as individuals with emotional and behavior disorders can participate. All participants must have a verifiable diagnosis and a completed program application to begin.
Potential riders must be 4 years of age or older to participate in the programs offered at EATSF. Potential participants in the Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy program must be 7 years of age or older to participant.
The program does maintain a rider weight limit of 190 pounds to keep our equine therapy partners happy and healthy.
When are the Programs offered?
Programs are offered Monday through Saturday, with Monday and Tuesday being reserved for therapy services (Physical Therapy and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy).
How do I enroll into the program?
We hold Open Enrollment twice a year – once in the spring and again in the winter. Click here to complete our form to be placed on a list for a phone interview. Once an interview takes place, you will be sent our program paperwork, which needs to be completed and signed by a medical doctor, before receiving an assessment. There is a $25 application processing fee.
Once our program team is able to determine if the potential participant can be placed in a class, we will send you information to apply for a scholarship.
How much do the programs cost?
Pricing for 10-weeks of service in the Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy (physical therapy), and Unmounted Horsemanship programs is $550. This includes one lesson per week. There is also a $25 annual application processing fee. For individual and group pricing for Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, please call 954-974-2007.
Do you accept insurance?
We do not do any third party billing. Some insurance companies may reimburse for some equine services. Please contact your insurance provider to verify eligibility.
Are scholarships available?
EATSF believes that everyone should have access to our programs and does not want cost to become a barrier to participation. Throughout the year, EATSF solicits support from individuals, businesses and foundations to provide scholarships for families in need.
Once accepted into the program, an application for scholarship may be requested. Scholarship funds are limited and amounts awarded vary. Returning participants are sent the scholarship application when it is time to renew the program application.
How do I schedule a visit to Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida?
We would love to see you! To schedule a visit or a tour of our campus, please contact our main office at 954-974-2007.
How many horses does Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida have?
We currently have 10 horses ranging in age and breed. Click here to meet our current herd members!
I am interested in donating my horse to Equine-Assisted Therapies, what are you looking for and what is required?
Thank you for considering our program as the next chapter in your horses’ life! The life of a horse at EATSF is physically and mentally challenging, as they must be able to assist unbalanced riders or help unmounted participants process difficult emotions.
Before being adopted into our program, a horse must be sound at the walk, trot and canter.
The horse must listen to both voice and leg signals, be well-mannered on the ground, and be accepting of assistive devices or equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker.
All horses must be able to tolerate working with multiple individuals, including one or two people walking and trotting beside them as sidewalkers. A prospective EATSF herd member goes through a 90-day trial period to ensure that they are a good fit for the program. Click here for more information.
How do you train your horses?
Our horses are trained based on their age and their needs by our Schooling Team and EATSF staff members. Schooling Team members are required to have served at least 250 hours of service and take a basic schooling test. Riders are matched based on availability and the needs of our horse herd.