Equine Programs for Young Adults at Benchmark Transitions

About Equine Therapy at Benchmark

Equine Assisted Therapy allows the client to process and heal deep rooted issues through Experiential and Gestalt therapy methodologies.  With this form of mental health/addiction treatment, the horse is an active part of the client’s treatment team!

Horses are known for heightened sensitivity and can mirror human non-verbal communication and intention.  Everyday situations and struggles are applied to Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Process Groups. With interpretation, clients are able to experience the horses’ actions and apply the scenarios to their lives and how they handle social interaction, conflict resolution, relationships, and motivation for change in order to focus on solutions.

Our equine specialists operate in conjunction with the horses to provide Equine Assisted Therapy at Benchmark Transitions Residential Treatment Center, Wildwood Canyon. Our model is client-centered and solution oriented, which is a perfect fit when working with addiction and trauma treatment.  The equine therapist helps the client draw connections to one’s life regarding behavior, motivation and growth, while the equine specialist manages the safety component and helps the clients learn about equine behaviors.

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Horsemanship Program

Our horse trainers have developed a comprehensive program, specific to Benchmark Transitions, that includes the following curriculum:

Introduction to horses
Horse Behavior
Haltering, Leading & Grooming
Lunging, Tacking & Safety
Mounting & Dismounting
Riding on and off the lead
Heals down
Posture, Reins & Balance
Trail riding & trotting
Canter & Obstacle course

The horsemanship classes will be offered to all of the clients as part of their SOAR Program (Sober Outdoor Adventure Recreation) during the Transitional Living phase and will be able to participate once they have complete about 6-8 weeks of program.

Equine Safety Program at Benchmark

Benchmark Transitions® is proud of our Equine Safety Program. The program is an ongoing assessment process in which we are using a basic evaluation checklist that has been developed by our contracted equine risk manager, Brad Flanders. Brad’s expertise continues to generate very positive results.

“We have implemented a horse evaluating tool that has a good common sense approach for evaluating the horses,” states Flanders. “This helps us to identify focus areas for particular horses and ensures that the therapeutic process is facilitated in a safe environment. This tool can be used to build upon our training plan to focus on specific goals for each horse. Additionally, it may help us identify any horses with regards to future purchase or adoption for the Benchmark Transitions equine program.”

Each new staff member and new client completes an initial round of training classes (short 20-30 minutes) covering horse behavior, basic safety, catching, haltering, gate procedures, back injuries and slips/trips/falls, helping our clients and staff get off to a safe start with all of our equine programs!

Call 1.800.474.4848 or

horse riding therapy
therapeutic horse riding
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