Utilized as a subsidiary treatment, equine assisted therapy for addicts and alcoholics works in conjunction with standard addiction treatment. Standard addiction treatments assist addicts to overcome their addiction and develop the skills needed to lead a better life. There are certain skills an addict must relearn in order to reenter society again. The main skills taught in this therapy setting are focused on social interaction as well as positive communication skills.
A majority part of equine-assisted therapy is discovering how to establish and preserve a human relationship. Patients must apply their acquired people skills in order to make the horse follow instructions. Endless pleading or raging demands will not work with a horse as they may with a human being. The failure of the horse to cooperate drives the patient to reconsider old communication methods and opens the possibilities of trying a new approach. By sustaining a quiet and positive behavior around the horse, the patient is able to acquire the horse’s trust.