At Tauranga RDA Equestrian Therapy Centre we provide the opportunity for clients to receive EAGALA therapy (equine assisted growth and learning).

If you would like to find out more about this form of therapy, please contact Elisha on
07 5441899

The EAGALA Model provides a standard and structure for delivering Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning sessions.  Practicing within a model establishes a foundation of key values and beliefs, and provides a basis of good practice and professionalism.  The EAGALA Model provides a framework of practice, but within that framework. There are infinite opportunities for creativity and adaptability to various therapeutic and facilitating styles.

What is the EAGALA model?

The Team Approach – An Equine Specialist, a Mental Health professional and horses work together with clients in all EAGALA sessions.

Focus on the ground – No horse riding is involved. Instead, effective and deliberate techniques are utilized where the horses are metaphors in specific ground-based experiences.

Solution-Oriented – The basis of the EAGALA Model is a belief that all clients have the best solutions for themselves when given the opportunity to discover them. Rather than instructing or directing solutions, clients are encouraged to experiment, problem-solve, take risks, employ creativity, and find their own solutions that work best for them.

Code of Ethics - EAGALA has high standards of practice and ethics and an ethics committee and protocol for upholding these standards, ensuring best practices and the highest level of care.


The Horse: Horses have many characteristics which make them effective agents of change, including honesty, awareness, and ability with nonverbal communication. The role of the horses in an EAGALA session is to be themselves.

The Equine Specialist: Chooses the horses to be used in sessions, works with the Mental Health Professional to structure sessions, keeps an equine log to document horse behaviors in sessions, stays aware of safety and welfare of clients, horses, and team, and makes observations of horse reactions which can bring in potential metaphors within an EAGALA-developed observation framework taught in the certification training programme.

The Mental Health Professional: Is responsible for treatment planning, documentation of clients, and ensuring ethical practice. The Mental Health Professional builds on the Equine Specialist’s horse observations, bringing in the metaphoric and therapeutic/learning relevance of the session.

Why Horses?

Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. Developing relationships, training, horsemanship instruction, and caring for horses naturally affects the people involved in a positive manner.

The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication, and healthy relationships have long been recognized. Horses naturally provide these benefits. The use of horses is growing and gaining popularity with the rise of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning.

We are often asked, "Why horses? Why not other animals?"
Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Like humans, horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning, an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.

Horses require us to work, whether in caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable lesson in all aspects of life. Most importantly, horses mirror human body language. Many complain, "This horse is stubborn. That horse doesn't like me," etc. The lesson is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.

This information supplied by Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Inc Copyright© 2009-2010


Come along for the ride! Give us a call on
07 544 1899

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