Miniature Therapy Horse Foundation Workshop 

The Miniature Therapy Horse Foundation Workshop is an intensive fully personalized 3-day workshop, with one to one classes specifically designed for handlers and directors of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) programs, as well as professionals planning on developing such programs with miniature therapy horses. 

This workshop provides the necessary knowledge to enable professional animal assisted therapists to set up and run their own successful miniature therapy horse program. The course consists of three basic modules. Each module has two parts: theory and practice, all combined in a dynamic form to optimize learning. Assistants are strongly encouraged to take notes during theory classes. During practices, assistants will not only attend real therapy horse training sessions of horses at various stages of learning, but also have the chance of doing fully supervised training practices with different therapy horses. The three modules are taught by Carolin Schröder, fully licensed veterinarian, MMA Yale University MSC. Zaragoza University, specialist in clinical behavioral medicine and animal welfare and experienced animal trainer. 

Duration of the course: 3 full days of intensive learning, combining theory and hands on practice. Further practices, practice shadowing as well as additional theory classes can be arranged upon demand once the basic three day course has been successfully completed.
Classes can be taught in English, Spanish or German. 

 

MODULE 1: Miniature horse care, maintenance and nutrition 

The miniature horse: special characteristics and needs. Size: when size matters.

Dentition and common dental issues: miniature horse dentition is different.

Miniature horse health: common diseases in miniatures, disease prevention strategies, zoonoses, health plans for therapy horses.

Miniature horse nutrition: basic nutritional requirements, special nutritional needs of miniature horses: protein, quality of fibre etc., practical feeding guidelines.

Horse accommodation: stable and paddock design for optimal horse wellbeing: space requirements, layouts, paddock paradise and dynamic paddocks, environmental enrichment, fencing, practical examples, barn safety. 

 

MODULE 2: Horse behavior and humane science based horse training/working 

Applied behavioral science and horse learning:
horse ethogram, herd dynamics basic psychological needs of horses and their importance in horse welfare, equine welfare: recognizing signs of stress, stress prevention and management, 

Basic principles of horse learning: how horses learn: four quadrants of operant conditioning, 

Desensitization versus flooding, long term effect of learned helplessness, 

Horse emotions and their importance in effective therapy work. Practice: science based horse training for miniature therapy horses 

Modern horse training: positive reinforcement (R+) training: basic techniques, advantages and disadvantages, working with and without food. 

Natural horsemanship techniques: practical applications, advantages and disadvantages, side effects of aversives in horse training/work. 

Applying counterconditioning and desensitization.
The importance of motivation: how to keep a horse motivated.
Fear: dealing with fear, fear and spontaneous recovery prevention techniques. Inappropiate behaviors: causes and management/resolution.
Benefits of special skills and trick training and the risk of overtraining.
Keys to successful training sessions, how to maintain and further develop the training of a therapy horse. 

 

MODULE 3: Animal assisted therapy (AAT) with miniature therapy horses 

Setting up a successful Miniature Therapy Horse Program: profit versus non profit set ups, marketing your program, financial resources and how to build a viable program. 

Legal requirements: insurances.
Choosing a therapy horse: relevance of temperament, size, age, sex, and work experience. Safety: patient, handler and horse safety, safety protocols, potential dangers during AAT sessions and how to prevent them: horse welfare protocols. 

Zoonoses: hygiene protocols.
Planning AAT sessions: structure, duration, frequency.
AAT applications: hospitals, senior citizen homes, anti bullying school programs, private coaching.
Examples of AAT exercises with miniature therapy horses (mobility and coordination exercises, relaxation, speech, psychotherapy and kids education.)
Preparing the horse for AAT sessions, its physical and mental preparation: training maintenance, hygiene, health check, transportation, Exercises to maintain therapy horses training: training protocols. Equipment of the therapy horse: vests, boots, poo bags etc., Monitorization and quality assurance of AAT sessions. 

Animal welfare: therapy horse welfare protocol.

 

Workshop requirements:
Participants are expected to have a previous background in animal assisted therapies and basic horsemanship.
Participants are required to have a valid travel/accident insurance during the duration of the course. Solid closed shoes are mandatory (sandals are not allowed).
The course focuses specially on hand on skills and real practices. Participants will practice with different miniature horses of various ages and training levels. 

Course investment: 795 €. The seminar price includes all course materials, the seminar completion certificate, as well as coffee/tea during the breaks. The seminar shall be paid in full prior to starting the seminar. 

Dates: this workshop is taught on demand. Please send us an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to inquire about dates available.