Male veteran experiencing equine therapy at Solara Mental Health in San Diego, CA
We understand mental illness and the difficulties it creates for those who suffer from it. At our San Diego Mental Health Treatment Center we are sensitive to your challenges. Solara will find every possible solution to enable you to live the life that you are meant to live.


Equine Therapy

Spending time with animals can be highly beneficial for mental healing. Interacting with horses that are highly sensitive to human emotions can help deal with trauma, manage anxiety, fight isolation, and much more.

People have been using horse therapy for over 50 years. Working with these animals helps a person evaluate in-depth feelings and put them on a path to healing. While equine-assisted therapy can’t replace traditional treatment for mental health issues, it can become an essential part of it.

Solara Mental Health in San Diego, California, provides equine therapy as a part of the mental health program for veterans. Equine therapy is utilized in combination with traditional methods of treatment to help reduce symptoms of mental health disorders.

What is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is a joint effort of one horse, the patient, and the equine therapist. As part of the therapy, a person with a mental health issue interacts with the animal and learns how to care for it.

Horses aren’t just highly sensitive to human emotions. They can mirror mood changes in a non-judgmental way, showing a person the need to address their problems. During equine therapy sessions, a patient bonds with the animal. The bond helps improve self-awareness and stimulate emotional healing.

What Can Equine Therapy Help With?

Working with a horse and establishing trust with it can help address a variety of mental health problems including:

Studies show that horses have an aesthetic influence on people who interact with them. The animal’s ability to sense emotions coupled with warmth and grace can help a person work through their mental health problems and increase their quality of life.

Benefits of Equine Therapy for Mental Health

While not all people who live with mental health problems can benefit from equine therapy, the majority of those trying to achieve positive results. The key advantages of using equine therapy for mental health treatment include:

Sense of Peace

Many patients who struggle with mental health issues, especially the consequences of trauma and PTSD have a hard time opening up to another person. No matter how experienced a therapist is, they may not always achieve the desired treatment goals.

When a horse participates in therapy, people can be more willing to open up. The sense of peace, relaxation, and safety that horses can create allows a person to share their thoughts with a specialist and move the therapy session forward.

Unbiased Feedback

Horses are highly sensitive animals. They easily pick up on the emotions of people around them. When a person spends a lot of time with therapeutic horsemanship, they create a special connection. When this happens, a horse can mirror a patient’s feelings.

When working with a horse, a person can receive unbiased feedback about their condition and understand the importance of addressing it. This helps foster a sense of self-awareness and allows the patient to become more open to treatment.

Relaxing Setting

The setting of an individual therapy session can be highly important to a patient with mental health problems. The stigma associated with mental health treatment is still a serious issue for many people. That’s why going to a therapist’s office may prove to be a challenge.

Equine therapy creates a positive environment for the patients. An informal setting can be highly beneficial for a person who has trouble relaxing in a doctor’s office.

Working with horses requires the veteran to pay close attention to the animal’s reactions. If a person wants to connect with the horse, they must practice interpersonal skills. For people who experienced trauma, regaining these skills is a big step toward recovery.

How Equine Therapy Helps Veterans

The most common mental health problems that veterans have to work through are PTSD and depression. In fact, between 10% and 20% of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder while around 11% of veterans struggle with depression.

Unfortunately, fewer than 50% of veterans receive the help they need for their mental health conditions. Reasons range from poor accessibility of treatment to the stigma associated with admitting the problem.

Equine therapy can play a major role in helping veterans work through their mental health issues. A recent study evaluated the benefits of equine therapy for veterans who experienced anxiety, PTSD, depression, and other mental health problems.

After completing equine therapy, veterans reported significant improvements in their anxiety and depression symptoms. However, several months after therapy some symptoms came back. Equine therapy can help veterans deal with trauma, open up to the therapist, and take a significant step toward recovery.

Equine Therapy in San Diego

Equine therapy can be an excellent addition to the course of treatment for veterans who experience mental health issues. While it can’t replace other types of treatments entirely, this therapy can become an important part of a holistic therapy approach.

At Solara Mental Health, our mental health professionals implement a wide variety of therapies to help veterans who are struggling with mental health disorders. Our clinical team has experience arranging successful equine therapy for many patients. If you’d like to learn more about our treatment center options and equine therapy benefits for mental health, please contact us at any convenient time.

What Our Clients Say


The Solara program is truly amazing. I’ve never had more clarity or more good energy in my entire life. The attention the physicians and the therapists gave me was outstanding. I feel like they truly understood and addressed my issues, which had consumed my life for years. Thank you all.

Michelle Family

I want to thank you and the entire staff and support system at Solara for taking such good care of my sister. On behalf of my entire family, we want you all to understand that your patience and kindness stretches further than you can see… Thank you, again and again, from the bottom of my heart.


Even though I’m not religious, I realized when I got sober that for the first time in my life I wanted to explore my spiritual side. I benefited hugely from the individual spiritual sessions that I had with Chris. I’m really grateful for that aspect of the whole treatment experience.


The Solara Treatment Program was a life-changing experience for me. To be able to heal in such a beautiful, peaceful environment, with such a terrific treatment team, was so amazingly positive. I have found my true self, again. I thank you and my family thanks you for helping me become the person I was meant to be.


I have never felt better than I do now, since completing your program. The truly caring and supportive staff and the intensive program changed my life. What a neat place to stay for treatment - I love Pacific Beach! I have learned skills and behavior to move forward with my life thanks to you.


Solara was truly a life-changing experience for me and for our children, because of what you did for my wife! The treatment team was phenomenally supportive and perfect for helping her with her anxiety and depression. We are all now moving forward to put our lives back together and it started with you all in Pacific Beach. Thank you for what you do.

M.P. – Father

Your program provided our daughter with the most masterful therapist we have ever encountered (and we have used many).  She has had an unbelievable ability to see the long-term trajectory of our daughter’s treatment and to approach her treatment in stages that fit where my daughter’s development was.  We can’t say enough positive about her.


The program has given me the tools I needed to really gain stability. For the first time in years - maybe for as long as I can remember, actually, I’m learning how to cope and manage my stressors and triggers. I now believe that I can find some relief and happiness.

R.M. – Father

If not for Solara Mental Health, I am almost positive that our daughter would not be as advanced in her treatment, and would not have the almost miraculous confident and positive outlook that she has.


The therapists and counselors and really whole team were extremely beneficial to me and my understanding of my issues. The treatment plan they developed was exactly what I needed

Watson Family

Solara’s program was such a positive experience for our mom (and for us)! She had become almost impossible to deal with. Your entire staff was phenomenally supportive and kind and patient with her. We feel like we’ve got our mom back, now.


We are so grateful to you for the treatment and care you provided our daughter. She is doing unbelievably well now thanks to your program. We will gladly tell anyone we encounter that needs treatment about the wonderful work you do at Solara.