Discover Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy

Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy (EAOT), or Equine Facilitated Therapy (EFT) combines activities with horses to facilitate Occupational Therapy goals. Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy in this space does not involve riding a horse, but rather involves working on the ground through a tailored therapy program with horses. This can include activities such as: greeting the horses, grooming, feeding, leading the horse, and obstacle courses. Some people may need a break from therapy within a clinic,  or may just enjoy being outside and around animals.

What type of therapy goals can we work towards?
During your Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy sessions, you will still be able to work on anything you would usually work on within Occupational Therapy sessions, however in an outdoor setting with horses!

We can work on your specific Occupational Therapy goals, for example:

Cognitive Skills:
• Attention • Planning and prioritisation • Task initiation • Impulse control • Working memory • Organisation • Goal directed persistence • Flexibility • Sequencing • Forward planning

Gross Motor Skills:
• Muscle strength • Muscle tone • Muscle endurance • Muscle range of motion • Bilateral coordination • Crossing the midline Fine Motor Skills: • Hand and finger strength • Use of a functional grasp on items • In hand manipulation skills

Social emotional skills:
• Building trust • Self esteem and confidence • Resilience and persistence • Safety Awareness • Meeting new people • Making new friends • Caring for others • Animal welfare

Emotional self- regulation skills:
• Identifying feelings in self • Identifying feelings in others • Identifying emotional triggers • Identifying self calming activities • Awareness of sensory differences and strategies • Problem solving through situations • The ‘Zones of Regulation’ program.

Why do we work with horses?
• Reflection around horses can help support individuals to identify how they are feeling, and assists them to focus on being present and in the moment. This can help to reduce anxiety and increase a sense of wellbeing.
• During therapy the focus is less on the individual, and more on the horse, which provides a sense of safety.
• Working with a horse requires social skills and a teamwork approach.
• Horses can provide an opportunity to move out of the comfort zone and challenges the individual to learn something novel. 
• Horses can provide an environment that requires routine, structure and experiential learning.
•  Being around horses can increase a general sense of wellbeing and joy and increases quality of life.

Who can participate in Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy?

Individuals from around the age 4 to 25 years old, with a range of different presentations including, but not limited to:
• Down syndrome
• Developmental delay
• Traumatic brain injury
• Visual impairment
• Intellectual Impairment
• Post traumatic stress disorder
• Eating disorders ADD/ADHD
• Autism spectrum disorder
• Anxiety

How can I access Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy?

Programs are typically 5 to 10 week programs, depending on the individual. Firstly we will have a discussion to see if equine therapy is suitable, and then we can suggest a treatment plan, depending on the individual treatment goals.

We see private paying, private health, Medicare and NDIS self managed and plan managed participants.

We are located on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in a quite little suburb called Kureelpa (between Mapleton and Nambour).