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Equine Assisted Therapy
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How does it work?

A brief review of the history of equine assisted therapy is enough to show how simple, yet effective these techniques are. Our patients generally have physical or psychological ailments whose causes can be traced back to some form of blockage or other. The therapy horse, together with a sense of being supported by it, become the centre of the patient’s attention. And almost incidentally, so it seems, the blockages dissolve and self-healing energies are activated.

Of course, this portrayal is highly simplified. More detailed descriptions can be found on the page entitled 'The igogo riding therapy' and in the igogo glossary (‘How equine assisted therapy works’). Nevertheless, the fact remains that the main reason why equine assisted therapy is so effective in so many widely differing cases is because it is fundamentally simple.

This may draw the response: "Well, if it's that simple, all we have to do is plonk the patient on a horse's back and say 'Gee up!'.", but of course that would be highly irresponsible. There are two main reasons why:

  1. No more than every human being is a born physician can one expect every horse to be willing and able to perform the tasks involved in therapeutic riding. And even if this is the case, the horse remains an individual being with its own character and behaviour patterns, and its human partner must be intimately aware of these. That is why the human therapist’s relationship with the equine therapist is so important.
  2. Secondly, not all patients are the same. The question as to which of the range of exercises and games should be implemented for therapeutic purposes and what can be expected of the patient or client is dependent on many factors such as age and the individual degree of disability.

This means that equine assisted therapy, simple though its fundamentals may be, is itself a very complex combination of activities which demand from those who practice it well-founded knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, psychology and pedagogy. And that is exactly what the courses of instruction leading to qualification as an igogo Equine Assisted Therapist deliver.

You will find further information on various aspects under the following headings in the igogo glossary:

  • Occupations associated with equine assisted therapy
  • The human-horse relationship
  • Definition and forms of equine assisted therapy
  • How equine assisted therapy works
  • The history of equine assisted therapy
  • Curative riding
  • Curative equestrian vaulting
  • Hippology
  • Hippotherapy
  • Medical aspects
  • Educational aspects
  • Psychological aspects
  • Psychotherapeutic aspects
  • Socio-integrative aspects
  • Therapeutic work with horses
  • The therapy horse
  • Working with the therapy horse
igogo · Academy for Equine Assisted Therapy · Petra Meisel
E-Mail: info(at)
concept and text: · Web Design and TYPO3: HORNUNG
Reittherapie / Therapeutisches Reiten: Praxis
Reittherapie / Ausbildung: "Langer Zügel"

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