Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Canopy Cove of Tallahassee, Florida

Using Equine Therapy to Treat Anorexia, Bulimia and other Eating Disorders

Equine Therapy plays an important role in Eating Disorder Treatment.

The psychological benefits of working with horses have long been recognized for with those dealing with an Eating Disorder. The relationship between human and horse is unlike any other relationship. There is something special about a horse that brings about a sense of peace when nothing else can. This seems to be true even for those who are not familiar with being around horses and especially for those individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder.

What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a highly effective, interactive therapy involving an equine specialist, licensed counselor, client and a horse(s). The client engages in activities with the horses and is given an opportunity to explore and process connected thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Sessions are about self-discovery, self-relations and having fun with horses.

Why Use EAP?

An Experiential therapy, such as equine, offers unique opportunities for growth that are often not available through other methods. When a human interacts with a horse, the horse often mirrors what the human is feeling, allowing for deep insights into their own feelings.

With the guidance of the Therapist, the horses’ ability to rapidly engage the client can be responsible for both insights and long lasting change.


In a safe and unique learning environment, clients are able to experience the full spectrum of human emotions and try out more successful behavioral responses, relating them directly back to experiences in their everyday life. Empowerment therapy with the use of EAP is an important and highly beneficial session for Canopy Cove clients. A sense of accomplishment and a feeling of contentment are outcomes we routinely see.

Areas of Benefit Include:

  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Anger and anxiety management
  • Relationship building skills
  • Communication
  • Boundary setting
  • Self-evaluation
  • Teamwork and cooperation
  • Leadership skills
  • Success planning and completion of tasks
  • Increased self-discipline and responsibility
  • Empathy and respect for others
  • Emotion Regulation

What Can I Expect?

Clients can expect to interact with the horses through pen work, ground work, grooming and other hands on activities. The focus of equine therapy is not riding or horsemanship but rather to learn about non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, problems solving, leadership, responsibility, teamwork, relationships, confidence, and to facilitate a positive attitude.

Will I be safe during EAP?

Yes, Equine Therapy is safe. Our Horses are carefully selected according to their personalities and gentle dispositions. They also have proven records of working well with clients. These are non-aggressive, friendly animals that look forward to the weekly sessions!

In addition, our trained equine therapist is always present and guiding the session.

Horses treat all people the same; they do not care about disorders, a persons’ flaws or the shape of their body.

How often do I get to work with horses?

Our horses are kept on site at Canopy Cove and can be seen out the windows grazing in the pastures. Clients engage in Equine therapy on a consistent basis with a minimum of 2 sessions each week. In addition, Clients are able to interact with the horses on a daily basis by watching the horse from a distance, being hands on in the pasture, or interacting over the fence. This easy access allows clients to develop a closer relationship with horses.

Call to learn more about our treatment options 1-800-236-7524
Click on a picture of a horse below to learn more about that Equine member of our Treatment Team!