Both mentally and physically challenged people can greatly benefit from horse assisted therapy. There are some great organizations all over the world that have a great track record for helping people. That being said, there are also many places that pretend to be horse assisted therapy places that can often make people worse. Yes, along with the good comes the charlatans, fakes and scam artists. Here are some tips on how to weed out the fakes from the good places.
- Make sure that the therapy organization has an actual therapist on the payroll.
- Most legitimate therapy places that use horses, will in fact accept health insurance and medicare, since they are licensed to do so.
- Check to see if they are licensed in the state or country by the medical board.
- Steer clear of places that are not recommended by local doctors.
- Do an internet search on the organization before you commit to therapy there.
Therapy is not cheap and those places that have a therapist with the patient during the session will be in the $100 an hour and up range. Stay away from places that just want $20 or so and use volunteers to walk and lead the horse for about 30 minutes. Those places are NOT horse assisted therapy, they are “give the person a ride for a fee” place. Those places can often make a physically challenged person worse if they are not aware of physiology and skeletal movement. For example, using a horse that is too wide or too narrow for a person with hip problems will often cause more pain or dislocation for that person.
Please do yourself a favor and do not go to unlicensed horse therapy places. One last note, just because the place is a member of a national organization for handicapped riders does not mean they are legitimate. I personally of one place that was a total scam and they were members, all they had to do was pay a membership fee. There was no regulations to join, just pay.