Equine Assisted Mental
Health Course

Enrolments now open!

Welcome to the Equine Assisted Mental Health Course, a collaborative effort
between Equine Assisted Therapy Australia and the Poly Vagal Equine Institute.
This immersive and transformative course integrates theoretical knowledge
with hands-on applications in the field of equine-assisted mental health and
has been crafted to provide a comprehensive learning experience.

Already have a mental health qualification?

If you already have a nationally recognised qualification to Diploma level in Counselling, Psychology, Psychotherapy or Social work, we offer our Equine Assisted Mental Health Course for you.

This immersive program adopts a holistic approach to equine-assisted therapy, seamlessly blending theoretical knowledge with hands-on, trauma-informed, practical, and experiential learning.

The course primarily emphasises three key areas: comprehending the theory and application of equine-assisted mental health, employing prior knowledge in therapeutic interactions with horses and honing equine handling abilities. To enhance learning outcomes, students engage in experiential learning activities, cultivate conducive learning environments, and receive personalised support tailored to their needs.


Throughout the course, participants will acquire knowledge of therapeutic methods for incorporating horses into therapy sessions as well as safety protocols to support the therapist, the client, and the horse. The focus is on respecting the healing journey of both clients and horses, creating a meaningful and secure environment.

Guidance is provided on overseeing clients as they interact with horses, ensuring safety and ethical conduct for all involved. The course also emphasises personal growth, fostering confidence and development in participants upon completion.

A solid foundation in science is integral, exploring the complex relationship between the autonomic nervous system, human behaviour, and equine interactions. Detailed exploration of polyvagal principles offers insight into the physiological and psychological dynamics during therapy sessions.

The learning experience combines theoretical instruction with hands-on activities. Theoretical sessions provide a framework for understanding the principles of effective equine-assisted psychotherapy, while experiential exercises offer practical engagement with the nervous system’s intricate workings.

What will I Learn?


This collaboration is more than just a partnership; it’s a commitment to mutual growth and providing our students with the best opportunities to learn and flourish in the world of animal-assisted therapy.

In a fractured world where isolation, disconnection, and a lack of a sense of safety prevail, the pursuit of growth, healing, and renewal can seem daunting. Accessing compassion, empathy, and adaptable thinking can become increasingly challenging.

It is imperative to transition our bodies from a state of stress to one of safety and connection. Mastering the regulation of our nervous systems, emotions, and overall well-being stands as a pivotal skill to cultivate.

Every individual deserves to experience a sense of safety and connection, and horses offer invaluable assistance in achieving this goal.

PVEI combines two profoundly effective and transformative elements to aid in learning this skill:

  • Understanding our bodily responses and their origins through Polyvagal Theory.
  • Applying this understanding in practical settings with horses, who serve as unparalleled guides in embodied learning.
Dr. Rebecca Bailey from PVEI

Dr. Rebecca Bailey, a trailblazer in the field of animal-assisted therapy since the ’80s, brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to our partnership. Students from both of our courses will have the incredible opportunity to benefit from the expertise of the Polyvagal Equine Institute and Equine Assisted Therapy Australia.

The course is completed in 12 months with 6 x 4-day face to face workshops and 1 x 5 day PVEI workshop where the team from PVEI will be training students, as well as self-directed study of approximately 10 hours per week.

The 4-day workshops will occur from Thursday to Sunday. All workshop days must be attended throughout the course.

Students must possess a qualification in Counselling, Psychology, Psychotherapy or Social work to at least Diploma level as well as current registration with PACFA, ACA, or AHPRA. Students with previous mental health issues are advised to seek advice from their mental health professional as to whether the course is suitable for them.


Students will be required:

  • to self-regulate and manage their own activation throughout the course.
  • to work on their self-awareness
  • take responsibility for their own healing and mental health journey.
  • maturely accept feedback
  • be open to new learnings.
  • be professional, punctual with assessments, payments and being on time.
  • safely engage in group dynamics and be a team player.
  • communicate transparently and honestly.
  • have capacity for the rupture and repair that occurs in relationship.
  • have an overall capacity to manage difficult material.

Upon the successful completion of this course, students receive a Nationally Recognised- Statement of Attainment for the following units of competency:

Foundations of EAMH practice 

ACMAAS401 - Manage animals and facilitate human-animal interaction in animal-assisted services.

ACMAAS402 - Apply disability awareness to animal-assisted services.

ACMBEH301 - Identify behaviours and interact safely with animals.

SISOEQU001 - Handle horses

ACMEQU212 - handle horses safely.

SISOEQU010 - Identify hazards, assess and control safety risks for horse handling and riding activities.

SISOEQU007 - Instruct horse handling skills.

CHCLEG001 - Work legally and ethically

CHCCCS019 - Recognise and respond to crisis situations.

CHCDIV001 - Work with diverse people.

CHCDIV002 - Promote Aboriginal and/or Torres Islander cultural safety

CHCCCS035 - Support people with autism spectrum disorder.

CHCMHS001 - Work with people with mental health issues.

CHCMHS013 - Implement trauma-informed care.

CHCPRT001 - Identify and respond to children and young people at risk

Successful graduates also receive a Certificate in Equine Assisted Mental Health from Equine Assisted Therapy Australia and a Polyvagal Equine Institute Practitioner certificate.

Training and assessment take place at private facility in the Tallebudgera Valley, on the Gold Coast.


EAMH 12 month Course – Cohort 20


Tallebudgera Valley QLD

Start Date




Upcoming Courses

Name Location Course Start Date Course End Date Cost
EAMH QLD May 2024 | Cohort 20 Tallebudgera Valley 16/05/2024 15/05/2025 $12,000.00

Ready to start?

Applying is easy using our simple online application process.