The Equi-Librium Therapy Center offers hippotherapy, psychotherapy services to children, adults

The Equi-Librium Therapy Center has been called, “The best kept secret in the area.”
Located in Greene County near Rogersville, Mo., the center is a non-profit organization that provides assisted therapies to children and adults with disabilities. Abbie Crowley, director of marketing and development, calls the center, “a hidden gem.”
It all started when a group of people, doctors and horse people started working with the horses and the kids and saw the benefits. The staff is state licensed/certified. The Therapeutic Riding Instructors are also PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) certified.
Equi-Librium Center (ETC) has up to 200 volunteers a year. All volunteers must undergo training to ensure the highest level of safety for the clients. Many of the volunteers come from the local colleges.
“A lot are in the nursing, physical therapy, or equine fields. We have a close affiliation with our local colleges and they send us people all the time,” Abbie said.
ETC offers several programs, but the main ones are hippotherapy and psychotherapy.
In equine facilitated psychotherapy clients work with horses through exercises to develop insight, emotional growth and positive change. It helps foster self-awareness and skill development.
“We work with veterans with PTSD using the horses as they do with dogs or other animals,” Abby said. “We have a psychotherapist on staff. But using the horse and just the engagement and teaching them boundaries and how to command and work with the horse helps build strength and trust back up. Being here in a serene environment helps. We are trying to expand on our Wounded Warrior Project program called Warriors Walk On. One of her main goals is to expand that program.”
The main program at the center is the hippotherapy.
“Our hippotherapy is where the client is mounted on the horse and there are restraints,” Abbie explained. “Volunteers hold on and help them out. They’ll work with mobility, hand-eye coordination, even motivation. They will get on their hands and knees on the back of a horse. It helps to stabilize and engage their core muscles and straighten their backs a little more, and also to look up.”
The minimum age for clients is 2 years of age and there is no maximum.    
“The staff will lay the 2-year-old on their back on the back of the horse. As it walks it will actually manipulate the spine to move as it should on our client.”
Services at ETC, however, must be approved and prescribed by a physician.
“This type of therapy is beneficial for every condition,” Abby said. “Autism is huge, because they love the feel of the horse. We have a client who is blind. We also have challenged teenagers with behavioral issues or substance abuse, or they’ve been abused. We have therapies that will help them learn their boundaries.”
ETC serves a variety of clients. In the beginning they had eight clients. In 2014 they had more than 500.
ETC is working toward adding needed amenities to their arena.
Abbie said future plans include a covered walkway for when the clients get in and out in the weather. Right now it’s rock, so it’s hard for those in wheelchairs to wheel down that. There’s not a bathroom in the arena building, so clients must go to another building.
On Sept. 26, the therapy center will celebrate its 20th anniversary. It has been providing equine assisted therapy for 20 years, but it has only been the Equi-Librium Therapy Center for three years.
We were under an umbrella of a different non-profit, but funds were cut so our program was cut,” Abby explained.


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