Religious Studies Scholars and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Professionals (EAPP) have not made connections between their fields. In addressing the intersections of their work (i.e. religion and horses) the practical implications within Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) can be viewed. Through an exploration of the uses of horses within both EAP and Religious Studies a more nuanced understanding of animals in both fields is found. Broad understandings of animals do a disservice to all animals by not recognizing their needs. In the case of horses, who are intensely social, placing them in the same cluster as a solitary animal would unintentionally induce suffering on both groups of animals. Because EAP and Islam and Christianity assert the importance of compassion for animals, specifically horses, it is imperative both disciplines recognize the needs of each class of animals. The American Academy of Religion (AAR), must to provide more nuanced understandings of ‘animals’ within each religion. Through the elaboration of the category ‘animal’ to either class or species specifications (i.e. mammals or horses). With this nuanced understanding of horses the AAR can better discern their treatment providing launching points of knowledge for many more fields of work. EAPP can benefit from these nuanced understandings of horses in religion because it brings forward one aspect of their “stuff” (which is carried into each session), was previously out of view. This in turn helps to advance their work through more complete understandings of horses.


Graham, Mark


Religious Studies


Christianity | Clinical Psychology | Cognitive Neuroscience | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Counseling Psychology | Islamic Studies | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Zoology


Horses, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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