Understanding the difference between equine assisted coaching (EAC), equine assisted learning (EAL) and equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is an important place to start when looking at career options in equine assisted services. Terms can differ but the difference between EAP, EAC and EAL lies primarily in the scope of the facilitator.
There are not too many training centres for equine assisted services (EAS) in Ireland. Festina Lente is perhaps the most established offering two types of course:
Therapeutic Riding Coach
This course will be of interest to those who have experience in Horsemanship and an interest in applying this skill to working with people with special needs. Therapeutic riding lessons can be offered to clients either in a specialised equestrian business or as an addition to their client lesson choices in a Riding School.
The course will be of interest to those who currently work with people with special needs and demonstrate a desire to integrate the two areas for training and development purposes.
Equine Assisted Learning
This course will be of interest to those who have experience in horsemanship and a background in social care, psychology or similar areas. The course will also be of interest to those with demonstrable experience of working with vulnerable groups of people and who have experience in horsemanship but do not have a formal qualification in social care, psychologyor similar areas.
For those interested in the equine assisted psychotherapist route, you would first have to qualify in psychotherapy and then could complete a course with the likes of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. EAGALA is an internationally renowned organisation whose model incorporates a licensed mental health professional and a qualified equine specialist working together with horses and clients as equal partners.