Aviva Vincent Isabel Ballard

The Necessity of a $125 Hour with a Horse: and Why People Need Access

A Talk by Isabel Ballard BA, MSW Candidate and Dr. Aviva Vincent LMSW, VSW

About this Talk

As the practice of Veterinary Social Work continues to expand, the conversation regarding physical and financial access to services becomes increasingly pertinent. Even more challenging, is the ability to gain access to animal assisted therapy (AAT), an empirically supported and successful intervention for a multitude of populations. While the field of practitioners is still growing, the accessibility is still relatively new to the general population; where to go for a practitioner in the field may feel invisible. When someone does finally connect with a practitioner for AAT, they are often met with expensive fees, sometimes far beyond their means. One form of AAT met with barriers of access is Equine Facilitated Therapy. Horses’ relationship to humans has evolved and grown from agricultural companion, leisure and sport, to therapeutic riding (Hausberger, Roche, Henry, & Visser, 2008). Both physical and emotional cues influence the relationship between human and horse creating a unique connection when they sync. As a large prey animal, horses exemplify the contrast of grace, power, and inherent vulnerability; they bring a special perspective to the therapeutic experience (Vincent, Farkas, Ballard, & Hoag, under review). Partnering with a horse gives individuals confidence and self-esteem as well as self-discipline, self-efficacy, and patience (Lessick, Shinaver, Post, Rivera, & Lemon, 2004). EFT engages the therapeutic nature of the horse and the professional ability of a certified therapeutic riding instructor and/or a licensed mental health professional. EFT includes ground lessons involving grooming horses, watching them interact in a pasture, or working directly with them on the ground. EFT also includes therapeutic riding and/or hippotherapy, in which the client or student is physically riding a horse. Whichever modality, the cost can quickly escalate. On average a therapeutic riding lesson ranges from $45 to $125. The cost considers the care for and maintenance of the horse, running the facility, and paying for instructors. The cost of $125 is inaccessible for even those able-bodied riders seeking pleasure or competition instruction. So how do therapeutic riding centers make their resources accessible to the influx of participants? And, how can access be increased especially for marginalized populations? This workshop session will focus on how organizations increase access to their EFT services, both monetarily and logistically. For example, how a therapeutic riding center negotiates transportation for a school group over thirty minutes from the site and how that is funded. Participants will leave this workshop with an understanding of the benefits of EFT, why they may choose to partner with an EFT providing center, and how to access information for their clients including how to overcome barriers of access.

Learning Objectives:

Attendees will discuss the various methods of EFT and the benefits of each

Attendees will understand the cost of EFT and current measures taken to decrease cost for clients

Attendees will learn how to access information to connect clients with EFT in their geographic area

Hausberger, M., Roche, H., Henry, S., & Visser, E. K. (2008). A review of the human–horse relationship. Applied animal behaviour science, 109(1), 1-24.

Lessick, M., Shinaver, R., Post, K. M., Rivera, J. E., & Lemon, B. (2004). Therapeutic horseback riding. AWHONN lifelines, 8(1), 46-53.

Vincent, A., Farkas, K., Ballard, I., and Hoag, M. (under review) Finding Mindfulness: Equine facilitated psychotherapy for female veterans. (Target journal: Military Medical Review)

October 10, 2020, 03:00 PM

03:00 PM - 04:30 PM

About The Speakers

Isabel Ballard

Isabel Ballard BA, MSW Candidate

Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center

Aviva Vincent

Dr. Aviva Vincent LMSW, VSW

Director of Program Quality, Fieldstone Farm TRC

Adjunct Faculty @ University of Tennessee, VSW-CP Adjunct Faculty @ Case Western Reserve University PATH Intl Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor PATH Intl Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning PATH Intl Equine Services for Heroes Animals & Society Fellow