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Precautions and Contraindications

Precautions

Client has:

  • History of animal abuse
  • History of fire setting
  • Suspected current or past history of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse
  • History of seizure disorder
  • Gross obesity
  • Medication side effects
  • Stress-induced reactive airway disease (asthma)
  • Migraines

Narrative for Precautions:

"Animal abuse" concerns are included in the interest of the horse's welfare. If the horse is not safe, then the session cannot be safe.

"Fire setting" histories should be carefully assessed to ensure the promotion of a safe physical environment.

"Active abuse" suspicions should always be reported to the appropriate authorities. Such reporting does not always result in cessation of the abuse. Clients are unlikely to be able to safely explore deep psychic issues in the context of a pervasively unsafe environment.

"Gross obesity" is associated with eating disorders and various other medical conditions. Obesity is a safety concern. Guidelines on weight limits for equines are included in the PATH Intl. Standards.

"Medication side effects" can lead to severe alterations in balance, arousal level, coordination, and strength as well as difficulties with speaking and breathing. Programs develop and implement procedures and process for remaining familiar with clients' medication regimen and clients' potential for and history of side effects.

An acute episode of "reactive airway disease" can be triggered by stress and anxiety. Although all medical conditions have a psychosocial component, RAD is singled out because of its prevalence and potential for sudden, severe onset of symptoms.

If "migraine" is in process; riding is not advised.

 

Contraindications

Client is currently:

  • Actively dangerous to self or others (suicidal, homicidal, aggressive)
  • Actively delirious, demented, dissociative, psychotic, severely confused (including severe delusion involving horses)
  • Medically unstable
  • Actively substance abusing

Narrative for Contraindications:

"Dangerous to self or others" is the clinically accepted term to describe those clients experiencing a psychiatric emergency. Equine experiences cannot be safely facilitated for clients exhibiting these behaviors.

"Actively delirious, demented, dissociative, psychotic, or severely confused", as well as "actively substance abusing" reflects the committee's agreement that equine experiences cannot be safely facilitated when clients are exhibiting serious alterations in mental status.

"Medical instability" can be associated with a variety of psychosocial challenges. The committee seeks to enhance awareness that physical/medical issues must always be considered as part of a thorough clinical assessment.

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