EiT/L Level 1

The EiT/L level 1 training includes fundamental information that can be applied to every model and method where equines are taking part in therapy and learning programs. This workshop is a theoretical and practical 4-day training that presents an alternative approach to understanding equine-assisted therapies and activities through science and research. It is based on the most recent research pertaining horse-human interaction, equine cognition, equine welfare and several other fields that contributes to explain the dynamics between horses and humans, as well as knowledge about equines, equine welfare, and wellbeing, with focus on EiT/L programs.

The training is adapted to the participants’ level of knowledge. Some topics may be limited depending on the participants prior experience or knowledge while other topics may be covered more in depth. A dialogue will be initiated with each interested participant to establish expectations on the training as well as specific knowledge needs. There will also be a list of suggested readings sent to participants prior to arrival.

The training covers the fundamentals of:

  • Equine evolution – domestication, co-existence with humans. Wild/feral vs domesticated equines
  • Equine biology - what do we need to know?
  • How the equine's previous and current life affects how he can contribute to EiT/L programs
  • Ethics
  • Equine cognitive abilities
  • General conceptions and preconceived notions about equines.
  • Equines and humans' common mammalian background. The importance of species-specific knowledge.
  • How a common ground between horses and humans is created.
  • The mirror neuron theory and why we don't know if it explains what goes on between horses and humans.
  • How horses learn and how training affects your horse.
  • Horse behavior and "misbehavior" (stereotypical behavior, "bad" habits, aggression, etc).
  • How does an equine know what to do in EiT/L programs?
  • Equine stress – eustress and burnout.
  • Negative equine welfare.
  • Positive equine welfare – growth for equines.
  • Anthropomorphism – the bad and the good version.
  • Essentials about comparative psychology to know how horses and humans differ and affect each other.
  • The horse as a subject, why objectification and instrumentalization don't belong in EiT/L programs.
  • Intersubjectivity theory – addressing the two attachment systems at play between horse and human. The horse as a transitional object.
  • The horse as a helper in grounding, staying in the here and now while working on therapeutic issues. The horse as a safe companion.
  • How to enhance your observational skills and how to use them in EiT/L programs to formulate questions to the client, and to look out for the equine's welfare.
  • Safety issues – what is safety in EiT/L programs? How to assess situations.
  • The EP's role before, during and after sessions.
  • The EP support to the equine. How to remain a safe person for the equine.
  • Awareness of yourself and what you bring to a session.
  • Teamwork and respect. How you work within your scope of practice.
  • Activities. How to choose them. Props, space, and environment.
  • Working with different populations – who affect your work and how you prepare.
  • Why you as an EP need to work with a licensed mental health professional IF you are offering any kind of psychological treatment.
  • How and when mounted work can be used, and what kind of mounted work.
  • Your responsibilities as an EP – towards the horse, the client and the therapist.
  • How to prepare for sessions. How to prepare yourself and how to take care of yourself after sessions.
  • How you, on your own, can further develop your observational skills and use your own senses and awareness as tools.

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