At SPIRIT Open Equestrian Program we use Equine Assisted Activities to improve quality of life by healing, empowering  or improving life skills for kids and adults of all ages and level of ability.

Our Classes have been formatted to serve community’s needs as:

  • Therapeutic group and individual lessons for kids and adults with special needs (EAT)
  • Therapeutic riding for Veterans (EAT)
  • Para equestrian and Special Olympic programs
  • Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) program for individuals or groups
  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) for individuals or groups
  • Continuing Education Classes for certified Counselors

Equine Assisted Activities created to meet your needs:

The heart of our SPIRIT Program is to provide a safe place for children, adults, horses and families to experience comfort, learning and encouragement.

SPIRIT Open Equestrian Program has been approved for NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6433. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC are clearly identified. SPIRIT Open Equestrian Program is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


  • Horsing Around with Partner, Family or Friends – learning and working together to improve existing and learn some new life skills
    • Parents with 3-7 year olds: meeting our pony – learning about connection, and private space
    • With parents or as a group – 7-12 year olds: learn about private space, communication, self-confidence
    • Individual or group – 12-16 year olds: learn about working together, being a leader, social interaction workshops
    • 16 year olds and up: learn stress release, solving conflict, teamwork, self-control and leadership skills
  • Workshops for Horse Owners – helping owners and their horses to better understand each other (schooling, re-schooling, and training for horses and people with their own horses)

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Equine assisted psychotherapy groups blend the power of the traditional talking therapy groups with an even more powerful group, the herd of horses. Horses can guide the psycho-therapeutic process through mind-body awareness and connection, mindfulness, and by sharing their relational wisdom. Clients can address relational concerns, anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, eating disorders and existential issues in their interactions with the horses.

Equine Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Education: Professional Development Workshop Series

SPIRIT Open Equestrian is pleased to introduce their Professional Development Workshop Series for Mental Health Practitioners. This is an NBCC approved program and each workshop will focus on

EAA – Programs at Spirit

  1. Therapeutic Riding –
    • program which uses equine assisted activities (mounted and unmounted) to achieve different physical, cognitive and emotional benefits, led by certified therapeutic riding instructor
  2. Equine Assisted Therapy –
    • therapeutic program led by professional certified therapist and therapeutic riding instructor or equine specialist
      • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
      • Equine Assisted Physiotherapy
      • Other (Occupational therapy, Speech therapy….)
  3. Equine Assisted Learning –
    • Program which incorporate horses experientially for educational and emotional, growth and learning. EAL uses alternative approaches to create positive and constructive learning experiences for children and adolescents who are at risk of failing in a traditional academic setting. EAL sessions incorporate guided and safe horse interactions, positive interaction between students, animals and adults, as well as the incorporation of grade-level appropriate reading, writing, art and math skills. These approaches, combined with a varied and very specialized, teaching staff helps to reengage the typically disengaged or defiant student and recreate a positive learning experience that carries over into the students’ traditional classroom experiences.
  4. Equine Assisted Life Coaching –
    • program led by therapeutic riding instructor coordinated with mental health professional dedicated to help people without mental health issues about everyday life challenges, life transitions, stress, personal and family related changes

Spirit Equine Assisted Activities – Serving Fairfax County

  1. Fairfax County Park Authority – therapeutic riding, EAL horsemanship, Equine Assisted Life Coaching
  2. McLean Community Center – Equine Assisted Activities for teenagers with special needs, afterschool program, Equine Assisted Life Coaching
  3. Neighborhood and Community Services – volunteer opportunity for people of all ages and ability level, job coaching opportunity, Equine Assisted Life Coaching
  4. Public Schools – EAL programs, job training for farm helper and animal care position
  5. Public Works and Environmental Services – we want to become educational model for environmental friendly farming
  6. Reston Community Center – possible EAL, Eat Therapeutic riding and EAA for seniors programs, Equine Assisted Life Coaching

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