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Horse Sense of the Carolinas, Inc.
6919 Meadows Town Road
Marshall, North Carolina 28753

Phone: (828) 683-7304
Fax: (828) 683-6281
E-mail: info@horsesenseotc.com








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Frequently Asked Questions

Here's some answers to questions we get asked most often here at Horse Sense.


Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Equine Assisted Learning

I am afraid of horses. Can I still benefit from this type of therapy?

Absolutely! Working within Horse Sense’s supportive environment, it is your fear that may prove especially effective in breaking through old patterns and revealing important insights. No prior knowledge of horses and/or horsemanship is necessary, by the way.

What type of payment is accepted at Horse Sense? Do you accept insurance?

Horse Sense of the Carolinas accepts several different insurance programs, as well as cash, check and credit cards. For private insurance that we do not accept, we provide you with the necessary paperwork to be reimbursed by your insurance company. We encourage you to contact your insurance carrier before your first visit, and to be an informed consumer. To be an informed consumer, please download and review the Advocating for Services document prior to calling your company.

Does Horse Sense operate all year-round? What happens during bad weather?

We have both covered and indoor facilities, which enables us to work year-round no matter what the weather. Obviously, we don’t work in severe or dangerous weather conditions, including bad storms or snow. We may opt to postpone and reschedule your session in these circumstances.

What if I'm allergic to horses?

Contact our office to discuss issues surrounding allergies. In many cases we can work around this so that you have a complete and exciting experience with minimal impact on you!

What should I wear?

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to show up at our barn in your finest designer clothing. Dress comfortably! And dress to fit the weather. Due to our cool and sometimes unpredictable mountain climate, we advise dressing in layers. Sessions might start out at one temperature, but become much cooler or warmer as they progress.

What documentation is required for a referral?

Referring agencies or mental health professionals are invited to provide Horse Sense of the Carolinas with proper release forms signed by the clients so that important clinical information may be shared (such as assessments/evaluations, diagnosis, treatment goals, and progress notes). We also have a simple referral form, where you can complete basic information about the client for our records. Parents can also refer their children. No formal referral is necessary to seek services, though!

What kind of client is appropriate for Horse Sense?

At Horse Sense, we utilize two types of programs: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), utilizing the EAGALA-model and Trauma-Focused EAP. EAP is effective for clients with mental health diagnoses and is idea for individuals, couples, and families. EAL is about developing lifeskills, and is utilized for schools and for groups who may benefit by having a mental health professional present in all sessions. Professional Development is also an option for clients coming to Horse Sense!

Each EAP client undergoes evaluation by our mental health professionals prior to beginning treatment to determine whether EAP is an appropriate form of therapy for their specific situation. The therapist may deem EAP inappropriate for the following:

  • Children under the age of six (due to safety issues)
  • Clients with severe cognitive impairment
  • Clients with physical conditions that do not allow for safe interaction with horses
  • Clients with agoraphobia
  • Clients not taking their medication(s)

While we may work with those in recovery, people who are actively “using” are referred to rehabilitation programs. Likewise, we do not perform couples counseling when domestic violence is current; we recommend individual therapy for the safety of both parties. If you are uncertain whether EAP may an effective treatment for your situation, contact Horse Sense to discuss your situation.

How does Horse Sense work with clients in an inpatient/residential facility or in a group home?

We feel the most ideal and productive way to conduct Equine Assisted Therapy is at the Horse Sense facility, where we have access to the proper environment, tools, and individual horses that give us the most flexibility in any situation. However, we can provide on-site services for select clients, bringing our team of horses and EAP professionals directly to your facility. Call Horse Sense and talk to one of our staff for more information on how this might work for you.

What kind of special training does the Horse Sense staff have?

The therapists and equine specialists at Horse Sense are highly trained, both within their respective professions and by EAGALA, the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association; PATH, Int, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship; and Trauma-Focused EAP. All staff are also trained in Horse Psychology and Herd Behavior, via Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Continuing education and training are an ongoing part of our educational process.

Why horses?

Horses are uniquely attuned to their environment, and to everyone in it. They are continually assessing leadership and communication skills in the people they encounter, and then respond honestly and without hesitation to that information. For this reason, they are invaluable resources in countless scenarios!

What happens in an equine assisted learning session?

Most sessions take place on the ground with a counselor, an equine specialist and one or more horses. After consulting with you and your team, we will design your event to suit the specific goals of your organization.

Will we ride the horses?

That depends on the type of treatment decided upon by your therapist and yourself or the program desired by your team. Trauma-Focused EAP includes Rhythmic Riding, specifically for the development of Self-Regulation skills, and may be appropriate for many clients. What kind of equine therapy will best be determined after the initial intake or after discussion of your organizational and/or leadership goals. 

I'm very familiar with horses already. Will I get anything out of this?

Absolutely. You may already be "ahead of the curve" a bit about what kind of feedback the horses can offer you about leadership and professional development. Yet, you might also find that our horses respond differently than your horse or than other horses you are used to interacting with. We interact with horses in a very different manner than traditional horsemanship, and look forward to showing you horses through a new lens.