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The usage of horses in the physical healing process of humans (hippotherapy) has been carried out since the second century; however, the usage of horses in the mental and emotional healing process has been less common. In recent years, more research has surfaced addressing this phenomenon, supporting the theory that horses can also assist in the mental and emotional healing of humans. Emotional support animals have been increasingly popularized, but horses’ abilities to mirror human emotions and sense those in pain are extraordinary. The mental-emotional benefits of horses have not yet been universally recognized as a valid and effective form of therapy. Consequently, those who may benefit from equine-assisted therapy may not have access or the financial ability to participate. Although some professionals debate over the specific names of the therapy, the common four categories of equine-assisted therapy are hippotherapy, equine-assisted learning, therapeutic horseback riding, and equine-assisted psychotherapy. There is a lot of overlap between the specific therapies, but all provide a different level of care and teaching to specific populations. This literature review aims to educate laymen, as well as professionals, to bring more awareness and availability of the treatment to further assist those in need of healing.



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