Tips for Those Considering Starting an Equine Therapy Business
By Devin Morrissey.
Horses are a special kind of animal. They are powerful, kind, proud, tenacious, stubborn, and silly. Horse enthusiasts connect with their spirit and the intelligence they can feel behind their strong bodies and dark eyes. This emotional connection is what makes a horse a valuable companion in terms of therapy. For those who are looking to harness this feeling for others who would greatly benefit from equine therapy, there are some things to consider before starting an equine therapy business.
Starting a business involves a lot of legalities. You should also think about your client base and how you’ll go about creating the type of therapy that will work for them while also keeping them safe. In addition to purchasing new equipment, you may need to complete some renovations on your barn and stables. You’ll want to make sure your horses are prepared for this new venture. As a business, you’ll also need to highlight your mission, remembering why equine therapy is appealing to you.
Navigating the Legal Side of Things
From business, to therapy, to safety, there are many legal aspects and regulations of an equine therapy business that you’ll want to consider. Creating a legal equine therapy business means forming a business entity, deciding if you’ll work as a non-profit, acquiring the appropriate business licenses, getting certified, and hiring any professionals you’ll need.
Navigating the legal aspects of a therapy business can be difficult, so you might consider hiring a lawyer and hashing through these requirements so that you know you, your horses, your business, your clients, and your employees are protected. Many patients you work with may require more safety precautions than usual, so it’s important to have this knowledge before working with them as a client.
Pinpointing Your Client Base
It’s perfectly fine to offer equine therapy to a variety of different clients, but it’s important to define your target client base in order to comply with legal requirements and get your equipment in place.
In truth, equine therapy is great for many different types of people. Those taking part in addiction treatment find that equine therapy is calming, positive, and helpful in terms of offering services to another being. People with mental health struggles may feel a sense of ease in equine therapy. It may also help disadvantaged youth to let them relate to such a stubborn but loving animal.
Your client base may include patients experiencing medical problems. As a form of holistic treatment, equine therapy can have a positive impact on those suffering from a variety of conditions. Many nurses are being taught that holistic treatment can be helpful when used with medical treatment for many types of ailments. Equine therapy may not be able to cure a disease, but it can help with inner healing in tandem with medical treatment. Pinpointing these things can help you to meet legal requirements and acquire the right training and certifications.
Renovations and Equipment
Simply having horses and having horses for the purpose of equine therapy are not the same. For one, your facility will need to be suitable for a variety of different clients. Work on creating a well-ventilated environment to help patients by providing a breathable and allergy-free environment. Each stall should be ventilated to prevent the growth of excessive dust, mold, or ammonia/pathogens from animal waste.
Avoid tripping hazards, keep dangerous equipment out of reach, and make sure you are providing clients with a clean and safe area. This will help keep employees, customers, and your horses safe. Focus on cleanliness, eliminating safety issues, and creating comfort.
You might also need additional riding gear, special equipment for certain clients, or even an additional establishment. Some stables might need to be spruced up and some additional equipment, but others may need more serious renovations, so that’s important to consider.
Preparing Your Horses
Some horses may handle this specific type of work better than others. It’s important to be sure your horses are calm and reserved around clients as to not exacerbate any conditions they may have. Because equine therapy can help a wide variety of patients, your horses should react appropriately to a variety of stimulus. For instance, clients with autism can benefit greatly from equine therapy. However, some patients with autism may have physical outbursts due to stress.
Be sure your horse won’t react negatively to such things in order to keep everyone safe. Go through extra training, do your research on equine therapy training, and prepare your horses for their role in the therapeutic process.
Highlighting Your Mission
One of the most important aspects of owning a business is establishing a solid mission. You have to believe in your business and what it is providing. Highlight this mission on your business’ site and promotional material in order to encourage others to dive into equine therapy and what it can do for them.
Share this mission with the people who work for you, your horses, and your clients. Help your clients to trust in the process, their horse, and how equine therapy can help them. Share your story and the stories of so many others who have benefitted from taking care of their horse and establishing a relationship with them.
If you are considering starting an equine therapy business, you are probably drawn to the idea of promoting the healing powers that horses have. You have probably experienced these healing powers firsthand. However, it’s not enough to want to help others through equine therapy; it also involves a lot of work and a lot of resources.
You’ll want to consider the legal requirements, how to take care of your client base, the renovations you’ll need, how to prepare your horses, and how to deliver your mission to others. However, if you can navigate your way through these aspects of an equine therapy business, you’ll have the pleasure of sharing the healing power of horses to people who really need it.
Devin Morrissey dreams of writing abroad, but he’s settling for writing on the road. You can find him on Twitter or across the Pacific Northwest, but tweeting him is probably easier.
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