A beautiful horse named Tinker is the inspiration for the Spirit Horse program.
In 2013, Tinker’s human, Alison (Aly) Walsh lost her battle with mental illness at the age of 25. Her spirit lives on in her treasured best friend – Tinker. Alison’s family yearned for a way to capture their daughter’s memory and it is through the relationship with Erin that the idea of Spirit Horse came to fruition. Alison’s family are confident that their daughter has a permanent smile ingrained in her face knowing that her beloved best friend, Tinker and Tinker’s ability to help others with similar stories is her legacy.
SPIRIT Horse Model is exclusive in its design and delivery. SPIRIT stands for Supporting Peers In Recovery-based Interactive Therapy.
What makes the SPIRIT Horse program so different from all other equine assisted therapy is that this program is delivered and created by someone who is a peer. This meaning that the facilitator also has mental health issues. This program is based on the participant and facilitator sharing experiences and exploring solutions with the horse as a mirror for self reflection. The horse gives and receives energy from the client, giving healing energy and removing negative energy. Sessions are based on the idea that each person is on a journey and there will be challenges but trusting in the process and moving forward will bring about the desired result. A horse lives in the moment and uses instinct of fight or flight to guide them. Through interaction with horses participants are able to explore what living in the moment means through creating a partnership with a horse. The structure of the session is based on the participant and horse interacting in the place that they feel comfortable working in. The participant has control of their recovery process with the horses which results in very positive and powerful outcomes that are solution focused.