Hope Community Services (HCS) offers an equine-assisted treatment modality which is an experiential form of psychotherapy where horses are involved in the sessions. “Experiential” means that you will be involved in hands-on experiences with the horses designed to reflect things going on in your life. The process is not always about interacting with the treatment team, although that will happen at times. It is about providing you the opportunity to experience, explore, problem-solve, discover, be creative, gain insight and experience for practical life applications. The process is about “doing” along with the “talking.”

Why Horses?

There are several reasons we choose to use horses in this work, but primarily it is due to their nature as a social and prey animal. As a result of this nature, they have an extraordinary ability to read our nonverbal communication – picking up on messages we are sending which we are not always conscious we are doing. With this, they start responding to us in familiar ways, reminding us of other people and things in our life. It is through this that they become metaphors (symbols) which provides us the opportunity to work on ourselves in relation to those aspects of our lives.

Horses do not know our past, education, gender, race, or other labels we may apply to ourselves and each other. They are in the moment and can be a part of this relationship without the biases that we humans put on each other. This provides even more value in the insight they can provide us about ourselves.


  • 7-17 years old

  • Enrolled in a contracted Health Care Plan

  • Enrolled in AHCCCS

  • Youth who has been enrolled in traditional therapy for at least six months and has made little to no progress with treatment goals

To refer a client for Equine Assisted Therapy, send the following documents to BHReferral@hcs-az.org:

  • Direct Service Referral form with up to date contact information

  • Initial Assessment/ Annual Psychological Evaluation including current diagnosis and BHP signature

  • CFT or provider Service Plan with parent/ guardian signature identifying Equine Therapy

  • Strengths, Needs, Cultural Discovery (if one has been completed)

  • CAS II for youth over 5

  • Crisis Plan (if one has been completed)

Equine Gallery