Equine assisted therapist certification opens doors to a world of possibilities in your therapeutic practice. EAT is a high-demand psychotherapy model that is powerful and healing, tapping into the profound connection between humans and horses. As proven in empirical evidence, Equine Assisted Therapy is an effective model for helping many populations with a wide array of mental health concerns.

In this guide, we’ll explore the world of equine-assisted therapist certification and how programs like those offered by the Horse Therapy Centre of Canada can be your ticket to a transformative journey toward personal and vocational fulfillment.

equine assisted psychotherapy

The Power of Equine-Assisted Therapy

Before looking at the details of how to get certified, let’s first understand the profound impact of equine-assisted therapy. Horses, with their innate sensitivity and nonjudgmental nature, serve as remarkable co-therapists in the therapeutic process. The therapeutic relationship between humans and horses has been recognized for centuries, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Today, it has evolved into a structured and evidence-based approach to healing.

Equine Assisted Therapist Certification: The Role of The Horse

Key Benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy

Equine Assisted Therapist Certification

The benefits of Equine Assisted Therapy have been long understood by many horsepersons and therapists alike. Anyone who has had the privilege to spend time around these magical animals knows that humans can heal from even in the most basic interactions with them. Here are just some of the benefits of EAT:

Emotional Regulation: Interacting with horses can help individuals manage and regulate their emotions. Horses respond to human emotions, providing immediate feedback that allows clients to better understand their emotional states.

Improved Communication: Many people struggling with personal and interpersonal issues find it easier to communicate with horses than with humans. This improvement in communication skills often extends to their relationships with others.

Building Trust: Horses are prey animals and as such, are naturally vigilant of their surroundings and the people they are around. Building trust with them requires patience and consistency, which is a process that can help individuals who have experienced trauma or trust issues in their personal lives.

Enhanced Self-Awareness: Through interactions with horses, clients gain insight into their own behavior, thought patterns, and emotional responses. This heightened self-awareness is a critical step toward personal growth and healing.

Physical Benefits: Equine-assisted therapy can also provide physical benefits. The act of grooming, riding, and caring for horses can improve coordination, balance, and strength.

Stress Reduction: Being in the presence of horses and engaging in equine-related activities often leads to a reduction in stress and anxiety levels.

Increased Self-Esteem: Achieving success in working with horses can boost an individual’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

Therapist Benefits: It has been shown that therapists working in this industry have lower rates of burnout and vicarious trauma, and increase feelings of happiness and fulfillment.

Given these remarkable benefits, it’s no wonder that more individuals are drawn to the field of equine-assisted therapy. And for those who aspire to become equine-assisted therapists, certification is a critical step on this fulfilling journey.

Equine Assisted Therapist Certification: The Role of Certification

So, you have a horse, and you’re a therapist? Why not just dive into it then?

The journey to becoming a certified equine-assisted therapist is not merely a formality; it is a profound commitment to professional growth and the well-being of those seeking therapeutic support. Even when therapists have horse experience and extensive knowledge, they often feel that they need support in incorporating psychotherapeutic modalities into EAT. There is great significance of certification, and it really does matter for both aspiring therapists and the clients they serve.

Knowledge and Expertise

Our certification programs are designed to provide individuals with a comprehensive education in equine-assisted therapy. The program covers a wide range of topics, including equine behavior, the therapeutic process, mental health principles, the nuances of working with diverse client populations, safety, and so much more. As a certified equine-assisted therapist, you can be confident in your knowledge and expertise, knowing that you have received the necessary training to navigate the complexities of this unique form of therapy.

Skill Development

Equine-assisted therapy requires a unique set of skills that go beyond traditional therapy. Certification offers hands-on training, allowing you to develop the practical skills necessary to interact with horses and facilitate meaningful therapeutic experiences. You will learn how to interpret equine behavior, create tailored interventions, and ensure the safety of both clients and equine partners. These skills are essential for delivering effective therapy sessions.

Ethical Foundation

Ethical considerations are at the core of equine-assisted therapy. Certification emphasizes the importance of ethical practice, ensuring that therapists adhere to high standards of professionalism, confidentiality, and client welfare. You will gain a deep understanding of the ethical guidelines specific to equine-assisted therapy, enabling you to provide a safe and ethical environment for your clients.

Safety and Risk Management

Working with horses involves inherent risks, and our equine assisted therapist certification program prioritizes safety. You will learn how to assess and manage potential risks during therapy sessions, minimizing the likelihood of accidents or injuries. This focus on safety not only protects clients and equine partners but also enhances your confidence as a therapist.

Quality Assurance

Certification serves as a quality assurance mechanism for clients seeking equine-assisted therapy. When clients choose a certified therapist, they can trust that the therapist has met rigorous standards of education and training. This trust is invaluable in establishing a strong therapeutic alliance and facilitating positive outcomes.

Professional Recognition

Becoming a certified equine-assisted therapist is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates your commitment to the field. It provides you with professional recognition and credibility within the mental health and therapy community. Clients are more likely to choose a certified therapist due to the assurance of competence and dedication that certification represents.

The equine assisted therapist certification process

Like many other psychotherapy modalities, the process of becoming certified in equine-assisted therapy depends on the program that you decide to take. At Horse Therapy Centre of Canada, our programs hold the following components:


Application and Approval

The application and approval process for our equine-assisted therapist certification is straightforward and thorough. To begin, applicants can easily apply online, providing us with their personal information. Once received, the applicant’s comprehensive application is reviewed by our dedicated committee, which assesses qualifications, including education, horse handling experience, and registration with a relevant regulatory body. The committee meticulously evaluates each application to determine eligibility. For a more detailed understanding of the prerequisites for this certification course, we encourage prospective candidates to visit our informative blog post titled “Prerequisites for Equine Assisted Therapist Certification” on our website. This will provide a comprehensive overview of the specific requirements and qualifications necessary to embark on this rewarding certification journey.

Registration & Payment

Once confirmation of approval has been received, you can proceed as follows:

Choose Your Date and Register

To begin your journey, you have the option to select a program date that aligns with your schedule. Once you’ve chosen a suitable date, you can secure your spot in the program by registering with a 50% deposit. This initial deposit ensures your place in the program, allowing you to plan your certification journey with confidence.

Payment Plans

We understand that financial planning is essential for many of our participants. To accommodate various financial situations, we offer the flexibility of payment plans. You can choose to spread the cost of the remaining balance over 6 equal payments, making it more manageable and convenient for your budget. This option is designed to empower you to pursue your passion for equine-assisted therapy without undue financial stress. All payments must be made before attending the training.

Balance Payment

For your convenience and to finalize your registration, please remember that the remaining balance must be paid in full at least 90 days in advance of your program start date. This advanced payment ensures that all logistical arrangements are made and resources are allocated for your successful participation in the certification program.

At Horse Therapy Centre of Canada, we are committed to making the registration and payment process as smooth as possible, so you can focus on your professional development as an equine-assisted therapist. If you have any questions or require further assistance regarding registration or payment options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated support team at office@horsetherapycanada.com.

Educational Training: Theory

Our certification program places a strong emphasis on comprehensive educational training, providing you with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills needed to excel as a certified equine-assisted therapist. In this section, we’ll explore the theory-based lessons that form the cornerstone of your journey toward becoming a proficient and compassionate therapist.

Understanding Horses and Horse Language/Behavior
In the classroom setting, you will take a deep dive into the world of equines, gaining a profound understanding of horse behaviour and communication from a therapeutic lens. This knowledge is essential for fostering a harmonious partnership between you, your clients, and your equine co-therapists.

Integrating Modalities into E.A.T.
We equip you with the tools to integrate various therapeutic modalities into your equine-assisted therapy practice seamlessly. You’ll learn how to tailor your approach to your clients’ unique needs and goals.

Selecting Target Populations
Identifying which client populations to work with is a critical decision. Our program guides you in choosing the populations that resonate with your expertise and passion, ensuring a fulfilling and impactful therapeutic journey.

Individual and Group Therapy Benefits
You’ll explore the advantages of both individual and group therapy sessions, understanding when and how to implement each approach to maximize therapeutic outcomes.

Co-Facilitating E.A.T.
Collaboration can be an essential part of your practice as an Equine Assisted Therapist. You’ll learn how to co-facilitate sessions effectively, fostering a supportive and dynamic therapeutic environment.

Horse Selection and Maintenance
Your equine partners are essential to your practice. You’ll discover the criteria for selecting and maintaining high-quality therapy horses, ensuring their well-being and contribution to the therapeutic process.

Ethical Considerations
Ethics are important in any therapeutic setting, but they are even more so in the barn! HTCC teaches a modal of EAT that has its framework based in ethics and clinical responsibility.

Launching Your E.A.T. Practice
We provide invaluable insights into the practical steps needed to launch your equine-assisted therapy practice. From establishing your business to navigating waivers, to finding your clients, we guide you through the essential startup processes.

**This is not an exhaustive list of EAT Theory taught by HTCC.

Educational Training: Practice

At HTCC, we believe that hands-on, practical learning is most impactful. That’s why our certification program goes beyond theory, providing you with invaluable practical experience that bridges the gap between knowledge acquisition and professional proficiency. As a graduate, you will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and apply your newfound skills in a dynamic and supportive environment. Here’s what you can expect to learn through our practical application and hands-on experience component:

Developing, Launching, and Evaluating Therapeutic Programs
Graduates will gain the expertise to develop and launch population and modality-focused programs. You’ll learn how to tailor your E.A.T. approach to meet the unique needs and goals of specific client populations, ensuring that your program is not only effective but also highly relevant.

Understanding the ‘Games’
Our program provides in-depth insight into how the equine-assisted therapy ‘games’ work and how to incorporate them into your practice seamlessly. These activities are engaging for clients and powerful tools for achieving therapeutic outcomes.

Facilitating Private and Group Sessions
You’ll acquire the skills to facilitate private and group therapy sessions confidently. Whether working one-on-one with a clients or leading a therapeutic group experience, you’ll learn how to create a safe and supportive environment for all participants.

Experiential Sessions that Achieve Goals
Our program emphasizes facilitating experiential sessions that drive tangible and meaningful outcomes. You’ll learn how to design sessions that help clients achieve their therapeutic goals while fostering personal growth and empowerment.

Balancing Safety and Freedom
Ethical and safe practices are paramount in equine-assisted therapy. You’ll gain insights into creating a safe therapeutic environment while allowing clients to explore and engage with the horses, promoting self-discovery and healing.

Preventing Unsafe Horse Behaviors
Understanding and managing equine behaviour is a crucial aspect of E.A.T. Our program equips you with the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent unsafe horse behaviours before they occur, ensuring the well-being of all participants.

Incorporating Common Modalities
You’ll discover how to seamlessly integrate common therapeutic modalities into your equine-assisted therapy sessions, enhancing your ability to address a wide range of client needs effectively.

Choosing and Training Therapy Horses
The selection and training of therapy horses are pivotal to the success of E.A.T. Our program guides participants on choosing suitable therapy horses and training them to participate effectively in therapeutic sessions.

Ongoing Training: After Equine assisted therapist certification: Advanced Online Programs & Mentorship
(Coming in 2024)

At Horse Therapy Centre of Canada, our commitment to your professional growth extends far beyond the initial certification process. We understand that learning is an ongoing journey, and to support our graduates in their continuous development, we are excited to introduce our upcoming advanced online programs and mentorship opportunities, slated to launch in 2024. This online portal will be available to all graduates, past, present and future, and will serve to guide graduates with ongoing learning opportunities and a community for peer engagement.

Access to Advanced Learning Opportunities
Gain exclusive access to a wealth of advanced learning opportunities. These resources will cover a broad spectrum of topics, including equine-assisted therapy (EAT) advancements and practice, business strategies, specialized therapy modalities to incorporate into EAT, working with specific client populations, and much more.

Private Community-Only Blog Posts
Our private online community will feature blog posts crafted explicitly for our graduates. These posts will look into advanced concepts, research findings, and practical insights to keep you at the forefront of the EAT field.

Paid and Free Courses
Our advanced online programs will include paid and free courses designed to cater to professional interests and budgets. These courses will offer in-depth knowledge, practical tools, and cutting-edge techniques to help you continually enhance your EAT practice.

Private Coaching with Our Director
As part of our commitment to your growth, we are thrilled to offer private coaching sessions with Jessica Echeverri, our esteemed founder and director. Jessica’s extensive experience and expertise in the field of equine-assisted therapy make her an invaluable mentor for anyone seeking to excel in their EAT career.

Online Community for Graduates
Our newly established online community will serve as a hub for all graduates to connect, share experiences, and provide guidance to one another. This supportive network will enable you to collaborate with fellow professionals, exchange ideas, and build meaningful connections in the EAT community.

Final Notes: Waking Up to Your Dream Job in Equine Assisted Therapy

Embarking on a career in equine-assisted therapy (EAT) isn’t just a job—it’s a dream come true for those who are passionate about making a profound difference in the lives of others (and horses). The transformative power of EAT is undeniable, and it offers both personal and vocational fulfillment that goes beyond the ordinary.

Certification is your first step in realizing this dream and turning it into a lifelong journey of love for your work. It equips you with the knowledge, skills, and ethical foundation needed to thrive in this unique field. As you begin your EAT career, you’ll discover that waking up to a job you adore isn’t just a cliché; it’s a reality.

Every day as a certified equine-assisted therapist, you’ll witness the remarkable impact the therapeutic bond between humans and horses can have on individuals seeking healing, growth, and empowerment. You’ll find purpose in helping clients overcome challenges, build resilience, and discover their inner strengths.

Moreover, the fulfillment derived from EAT extends beyond the professional realm—it touches your soul. The connection you forge with your equine partners, the joy of seeing your clients achieve breakthroughs, and the deep satisfaction of making a meaningful difference in the world will fill your heart.

As you take your first steps on this journey, remember that certification is just the beginning. The advanced learning opportunities, mentorship, and ongoing support provided by Horse Therapy Centre of Canada will ensure that your passion for EAT continues to flourish throughout your career.

So, embrace the dream of becoming an equine-assisted therapist, and take pride in knowing that your journey towards certification is the first step in waking up every day, loving what you do, and positively impacting countless individuals’ lives. Your dream job in EAT is not only personally fulfilling but also a vocation that enriches the world with compassion, healing, and hope.

Welcome to the extraordinary world of equine-assisted therapy, where your passion becomes your lifelong purpose.