Equine-Assisted Therapy

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine Therapy & Counseling - Brighton & Plymouth MI - nan_and_chase


The specially trained psychologists at McCaskill Family Services are excited to team up with Brighton Equestrian Club to offer Equine Therapy (also referred to as Horse Therapy, Equine-Assisted Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy).

This type of therapy involves interactions between patients and horses in guided activities such as grooming, feeding, leading, mounting, and riding to improve behavior, thought processes and emotional control. Equine Assisted Therapy is a treatment that promotes physical, emotional and occupational growth.

What are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

Studies have shown that equine therapy has been successful in helping children, teens and adults make significant improvements in a short amount of time in the following areas:

  • Confidence
  • Self- Esteem
  • Assertiveness
  • Anger Management
  • Social Skills and Communication
  • Emotional Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Stress Management
  • Flexibility
  • Impulse Control
  • Anxiety Management
  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • Independence
  • Improved Mood 
  • Interpersonal Relationships

Horses are astute at reading human emotions and people often turn to animals for comfort. Horses are by nature accepting and non-judgmental.  They can mirror human emotions and behavior and will respond to negativity, therefore encouraging the client to be calm, open, gentle and aware. 

While working with horses under the guidance and supervision of an equine therapist, equine therapy patients have a unique and effective opportunity to get direct feedback on their pattern of problematic behaviors, self-defeating negative thoughts and actions. These insights and skills then translate to everyday life and people feel happier, more connected and successful.

Who Would Benefit from Equine Therapy from McCaskill Family Services in Brighton?

Children of all ages, Teenagers and Adults with:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Behavior Problems
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Grief/Loss
  • Trauma
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Anger Problems
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Social Problems
  • Inflexibility
  • Addiction
  • Lack of Empathy



"I have been struggling with depression and anxiety and my mom told me about a program called Equine Therapy at The Brighton Equestrian Club.  I had tried going to a counselor a few times, but it didn't seem to help much.  Before I could say no, my parents signed me up for a group for teens.  This experience has completely turned my life around.  I am happier, doing better in school and I can see a future that I could not see before.  Every time my feelings get too much for me, I remember how my horse that I worked with taught me how to get them back in control. Well, the horse helped Dr. Nicole teach me how to actually use strategies that really really work.
-teen girls name kept anonymous for confidentiality
"Through my group at the BEC, I worked with a horse and therapist and I learned a lot about myself.  My horse would not listen and do what I wanted and this really made me mad.  In a few weeks, I had to learn how to control my anger and frustration without yelling, hitting or quitting.  I also experienced what my parents have been going through with me when I won't listen or do what they say.  I learned so much and I am happier and my parents seem happier too."
-teen boys name kept anonymous for confidentiality
"Everyone should experience the Mindfulness therapy group at Brighton Equestrian Club.  As a mom, I am constantly stressed and pulled in so many directions.  Once a week, it was my time to unplug and be in the peaceful moment with my horse partner.  The psychologists from McCaskill Family Services taught me strategies to reduce my stress that I practiced with my horse each week.  They really know what they are doing."
-name kept anonymous for confidentiality
The Equine Assisted Group Therapy program is truly something amazing. It is hard to even put into words the transformations that I have been able to witness first hand. There is something special about horses and their comforting nature that makes you feel so calm and reconnected to the world around us. Dr. Nicole and the BEC do a wonderful job making the environment feel safe and positive. I would recommend this program to anyone struggling with anxiety, depression, grief or anyone just looking to improve their daily life.
----Alyssa Jacobs (assistant to winter 2109 groups)


If you are interested in learning more about the individual and/or group therapy options available through the Equine Therapy Division of McCaskill Family Services, please contact us at our Brighton office location, 810.224.1676.

No riding experience is necessary.  As groups form, we will try to match your child with same-age peers. 8 Week Sessions:

Summer 2019 Horse Therapy Group Schedule:

Registration is currently open for the following groups:

June 10/11 - August 5/6 (no groups the week of July 22/23)

ADULT MINDFULNESS (ages 18 and up):  Mondays:  9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
AGES 9 - 12 years Mondays:  12:00 noon - 1:30 p.m.
TEEN GIRLS Mondays 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
TEEN BOYS Mondays 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
ADULT STRESS MANAGMENT Tuesdays:  5:30 p.m.  - 7:00 p.m.

Each group runs for 8 weekly sessions for 90 minutes each session. Each 90 minute session is billed as a therapy session with a Licensed Ph.D. Psychologist. Insurance companies reimburse this the same way they do group sessions in an office setting. So, if your insurance pays for out-of-network providers, they will reimburse in a similar fashion for this too. We will provide you with receipts that you can submit to your insurance company.