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Clannad Counselling and Consulting

Equine Supported Wellness


Horse and equine therapy

What is ESW?

Offering an alternative approach to other traditional forms of talk therapy, Equine Supported Wellness (ESW) involves the use of horses in the therapeutic session.

The Horses

As natural herd animals, horses offer a sense of security for each other, help each other face challenges and provide comfort to one another - leading to overall emotional well-being. The semi-structured exercises used in ESW allow the participants to benefit from the natural instincts of horses. The experience with the animals provides immediate feedback to participants, leading to deeper self-awareness, discovery of buried emotions, and can enrich the therapeutic process. As humans, we are social animals who need others in order to feel whole - and even to survive. It is through this connection in our relationships that we develop, understand and heal.

During an ESW Session


During an ESW session, you will see clinical staff and a horse handler who have all been trained in ESW and Equine Supported Learning (ESL).

How it Works

ESW encourages our learning and understanding, helps us to recognize the patterns that exist in our relationships, and allows us to grow our emotional connectedness and relationships with each other. By moving through a set of semi-structured exercises, participants will be a part of a journey of self-discovery and awareness, creating the opportunity for personal growth and healing ruptures in relationships.

Who Can Utilize ESW?

There is no prior horse experience required to participate in ESW, Rohan Wood Stables is completely accessible and the activities that individuals and families participate in can be responsive to any physical exceptionalities required.

Current Opportunities to Experience ESW

Therapeutic Groups

    Some of the benefits that we see with ESW are:

  • Improved communication between couples and families
  • Feeling more connected with others
  • A greater understanding of the roles we play in teams/family units
  • Recognizing patterns in relationships that we can then choose to change
  • Research shows a decrease in symptoms associated with mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression - particularly when ESW is practiced within a couple or family unit.

We are able to offer ESW with gratitude to our key partners Rohan Wood Stables (RWS) and Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association (FSTRA) who also believe in removing barriers, providing healing through relationships and building community.