Horse Sense Ability 3

Diana Linclon-Haye, Equine Therapist


Diana Lincoln-Haye doesn’t horse around when treating her clients. Lincoln-Haye MS, LPC, NCC has loved and lived around horses her entire life. She trained and used them on her family’s cattle ranch in Kimberly, Idaho for 27 years, so it was natural that when she became a counselor she would use them in therapy with her clients. She helped raise an autistic grandson and when she found that riding was beneficial for him, she realized it might be helpful for others.

To learn about equine assisted therapy, Lincoln-Haye did an internship with Dr. Rand Gurley in Sandpoint, Idaho. Gurley specializes in trauma and equine assisted therapy. Lincoln-Haye earned a master’s degree in clinical counseling at Prescott College in Arizona.

“Equine Assisted Psychotherapy incorporates horses experientially for mental and behavioral health therapy and personal development,” explains Lincoln-Haye. “It is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist who is a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address therapy goals.” Lincoln-Haye likes equine therapy because of the joy that horses give people.

Lincoln-Haye’s love and respect for horses is evident as she describes the horses used in her practice. Four horses are utilized at her practice Horses for Wellness but one holds a particular place in her heart.

“Hank is a 27-year-old blue paint horse.” says Lincoln-Haye. “We’ve had him his whole life. He’s a very gentle, intuitive horse.”

Hank and the other horses at Horses for Wellness benefit clients of all ages. A mental health professional, who is also a horse professional, supervises activities such as grooming, feeding, haltering and leading a horse.

“There are several aspects of cognitive/equine-assisted therapy that work well with kids who have emotional and behavioral issues,” notes Lincoln-Haye. “One of the simplest aspects is diversion. When a young person is focused on grooming, feeding or exercising a horse, his focus is no longer on his own issues and problems.”

Older children benefit from interaction with horses too.

“Troubled teens can be in a state of aggression, defiance or anger. Using horse therapy with teens helps maintain a constant and healthy chemical balance. Horses provide troubled youth with an opportunity to learn how to control and work with animals.”

Adults have also benefited from equine therapy.

“As adults, it is important to know how to communicate,” states Lincoln-Haye. “Horses are wonderful teachers to help us better understand and learn how our non-verbal communication might be impacting or influencing others in our lives. Horses put us in touch with our emotions and keep us in the present which is especially helpful for people who have experienced trauma or have been diagnosed with PTSD.”

Lincoln-Haye remembers a single mom and her two children who benefitted from equine therapy.

“She had been in an abusive relationship. Equine therapy gave her a feeling of trust to work with such a big but gentle horse and it gave her children the ability to express their fears in a safe environment.”

Lincoln-Haye moved to Eagle a year and a half ago with her husband, Stan, to be close to Nichole Rioux and Natasha Haye, two of her daughters. Lincoln-Haye has four children and two stepchildren. People who are resilient and are willing to work through whatever life throws at them inspire Lincoln-Haye. She also might inspire others because she has been through difficult times herself since she lost her 19-year-old daughter Lacey seven years ago.

“I believe in living fully as you go through life and enjoying what you do,” states Lincoln-Haye. “I am inspired most by ordinary people that I have met over the years who do extraordinary things. Idaho is full of those types of people.”