Equine Therapy

The healing power of nurture


Equine Therapy for Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease involving both physical and psychological processes. A number of methods are used to help patients deal with issues that contribute to their substance dependency. In equine therapy Riverside patients engage in a close way with horses. This has become a popular method for helping those with addiction problems deal with deep-seated issues that prevent them from living a healthy, substance-free life.

Animal-Assisted Therapy Is Not New

The use of animals to help human beings with physical and psychological wounds is not a new phenomenon. The Ancient Greeks documented the use of horses to help the wounded as far back as 600 B.C. In the 1800s, horses were known to help people with neurological disorders. Horses have been used since the 1960s to help patients with disabilities. The use of horses in therapy for substance abuse is a natural outgrowth of these efforts to help patients deal with their physical and mental conditions.

How Horses Can Help Humans

Horses are large creatures, which often evoke anxiety or fear in patients. Dealing with these emotions can help patients deal with the same emotions in a larger context. Horses also read people on a non-verbal level. This tendency creates a need for the patient to be honest in their feelings, allowing them to monitor themselves on a minute-by-minute basis while they are working with the horses. Equine therapy rehab can be an invaluable tool for those recovering from addiction, as they prepare to re-enter the outside world.

Benefits of Equine Therapy Rehab

Equine therapy for addiction can have a number of benefits for patients:

  • Patients begin to understand the nature of trust and building a relationship with the animal.
  • Patients learn the importance of non-verbal communication and attitude in dealing with the animal.
  • Patients benefit from the calm presence of animals, which effectively reduces stress.
  • Insights have more impact than with traditional therapy.
  • Feedback is immediate, providing the patient with a good mirror for his or her own actions.

Animals have become important tools in helping humans deal with a variety of problems that keep them from living fully, engaged lives. Equine therapy for addiction can help patients understand their inner selves and become more authentic human beings. For equine therapy Riverside patients can learn to interact with another species and learn valuable lessons in dealing with their own psychological issues.

National average Relapse Rate

Below is the National Average Relapse Rate per addiction.


    “In October 2011, I checked into Serenity Lodge, a residential treatment facility in Lake Arrowhead, CA. I stayed there successfully for one year until October 2012, and Mike Lyons was my counselor throughout my stay. I credit Mike for truly saving my life! I was suffering from multiple addictions, which were rooted in severe depression. Mike possesses a unique combination of qualities which helped guide me to a new way of thinking & to a sober life: he is compassionate, fair, bright, non-judgmental, insightful, a great listener, and his many years of sobriety speaks volumes about his successful approach. Because of Mike, I am now 3 1/2 years sober (with zero relapses), I have my 3 children solidly back in my life, and I am blessed with a wonderful new perspective as I look to my future. Thank you Mike, I am eternally grateful to you!!”

    Neil Winterrowd

    Serenity Lodge Alumni (2012)

    “I awoke on a very dark road at 35 years old and I was deeply lost. I stumbled upon a wonderful piece of hope and it came in the form of a mentor and counsellor by the name of Mike Lyons. Addiction is a touchy subject and Mike made it clear to me that I could change who I was and who I wanted to become. I am forever grateful to him.”

    Nelson C. Pierce (2015)

    “I met Mike Lyons during 2012 and was placed on his case load for approximately 6 months. It was not my first time in a treatment facility and I tend to set the bar high for case managers. Mike greatly exceeded my high expectations. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him. I quickly found that Mike is easy to converse with. He listens and gives feedback in a non-judgmental fashion that puts you at ease. I always felt I could be completely honest with Mike. He is also quite knowledgeable in the field of addiction. Mike used his years of experience as a case manager as well as his personable experience to facilitate stimulating and practical small groups. I feel fortunate to have had the experience of working with Mike and he continues to check up on me periodically. Most of all, he truly cares for all his clients.”

    Neal Hayes

    “In March of 2013 I entered an alcohol treatment program, with the intent of getting my life back on track after a being arrested for a DUI. I entered treatment a broken man with a promising future. The DUI was not my first and I was going to start a Master’s program at well-respected top notch university. Needless to say I had everything to lose. Michael Lyon was my counselor throughout 2014. Mike’s experience proved to be a great asset in my journey towards sobriety and recovery. I could always depend on Mike to lend an ear and offer sound advice. The advice and mentoring that he unselfishly offered, saw me through some of the darkest most depressing days of my life. Mike genuinely cares for his clients. Over the course of six months we communicated daily, his genuine concern for my well-being and recovery was paramount. Although it may sound as if I was his only client, he provided the same level of compassion and care for all his clients and people in the recovery community gravitated towards him in an effort to “have what he has”. Today I still keep in Contact with Mike and ask his advice from time to time.”


    “Mike Lyons is a true life saver. My son and our family were blessed to have had Mike counsel and care for our son, and through his love and dedication, Mike succeeded in bringing our son back to his prior health and happiness, and indeed actually making him healthier and happier than he had ever been before. I will consider myself forever blessed and fortunate because of Mike’s caring and expert care. Mike does a lot more than help rehabilitate lives, he makes living truly enjoyable and meaningful. Our son has been doing very well, and our entire family today is happy and healthy, because of Mike. Mike has been God’s gift to us. We are so glad that we selected Mike from the start, to help our son and our family heal and succeed.”

    Bob M.

    “I’ve been in numerous rehabs and have had many case managers, but I can honestly say that Mike Lyons was the most engaging case manager I’ve ever had. He showed sincere interest in my thoughts and direction in the program. He’s kept me working on my sobriety for longer than any other program I have been to. I can believe he will be a definite positive asset to anyone he pulls under his wing. Generally he’s an all around good guy.”

    Greg Caston