Tag Archives: equine assisted psychotherapy

Eagala Celebrated 20th Anniversary with Record-Breaking Attendance at 2020 Conference

Lexington, Ky. – March 16, 2020 – Eagala recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary with record-breaking attendance during their Vision 360 conference on February 26-29. Over 630 people, Eagala members and those passionate about equines from across the U.S., and twenty countries gathered in Lexington to network, learn, and celebrate the past 20 years, while creating clarity for the next 20 years in the rapidly growing Eagala Model approach. The Eagala Model combines licensed mental health professionals, qualified equine specialists, and horses to effectively work with clients addressing mental health issues.

As part of the conference, Eagala was proud to host the Congressional Horse Caucus on Saturday, Feb. 29th.  Eagala CEO, Lynn Thomas, with the support of the American Horse Council, and members of the Congressional Horse Caucus attended a live, hands-on demonstration with horses and a panel discussion at the Lexington Convention Center.

Thousands of pounds of dirt were brought in to transform the basement of the Lexington Convention Center into a working indoor arena. Following the demonstration, the panel met about the impact of incorporating horses in mental health services for Veterans with PTSD and re-entry transitions, suicide prevention, substance abuse recovery, rural mental health issues, and other mental health needs in which horses can have a positive impact on treatment outcomes.

In attendance was Horse Caucus Co-chairman Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY 6), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, who prior to the Caucus participated in an Eagala session with Kentucky-based veterans. Representative Barr has been a strong advocate for this method to improve the lives of veterans and horses, including retired racehorses.  He has led legislation funding equine-assisted services for mental health issues through the Veterans Administration Adaptive Sports Grant, and co-sponsored the IMPROVE Well Being for Veterans Act (H.R. 3495) – a veteran suicide prevention bill to provide grants to community organizations that interact with veterans who may not seek care at the VA, and includes access to equine-assisted services.

Invited to participate in the panel were members of the Congressional Horse Caucus, leaders in the horse and equine-assisted services industries, and veterans and others who have benefited from these services. The Caucus was moderated by Eagala Legislative Director, Ellen Stroud. To learn more about Eagala, please visit their website here.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Relationships are our biggest source of pleasure, and conversely, our biggest source of pain. Horses are pretty clear about our relationships. We have a hierarchy that we firmly establish whenever we meet someone new. We posture and make a lot of noise trying to intimidate each other. Once we’ve decided who is dominant, we usually leave it at that. The dominate horse picks where he or she wants to be, and the subservient horse moves from our space. We rarely fight beyond that.

Human beings are not so simple. You have such incredibly complicated relationships! We horses notice and are amazed by how confusing your interactions tend to be. Often you humans don’t say what you really mean. You bury your real feelings under flowery words you don’t really believe, and you project your fears and unhappiest thoughts onto each other as though you think that will rid yourself of them.

We find this confusing and sad. We know this inner conflict is the source of much of your pain. Often human beings are incongruent in their actions when compared to their thoughts. You don’t know how to deal with your true feelings. Horses can sense that. It’s why we are now being used in psychotherapy. We can tell when you’re not being congruent or honest with yourself. When we feel it, we react to you in a different way and reflect back to you with honesty what you’re really feeling, not what you’re trying to project.

If you’re one of those who’s lost touch with your inner self, we can help you find yourself again. Let us be your guide. If your horse is acting strangely with you, such as he won’t let you catch him, or acts uncharacteristically nervous, check in with your own thoughts and notice what you are feeling. Are you stressed? Are you unhappy? Notice what’s going on inside your body. Perhaps your horse is mirroring your inner turmoil. Instead of thinking that it’s your horse who has an issue, perhaps it’s time to make sure your inner feelings are not projecting some kind of distress your horse can feel.

If you are interested in equine assisted psychotherapy, check out some of these websites: www.TouchedbyaHorse.com, www.equineenergetix.com, or Google “equine assisted psychotherapy”. This is a relatively new field, and one worth investigating. If you’re looking for a new career with horses, perhaps you and your horse can learn to help others from the inside out!

After all, horses aren’t just for riding! We’re your friends, and we want to support you.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

Geoffrey, my friend with the curly hair, wouldn’t race with me. He said he would much rather have a wrestling contest instead. I agreed, and we asked Moshi to officiate. Moshi’s not crazy about our noisy play, but he said he would do it.

Geoffrey is stronger than he looks! He pinned me several times. I pinned him too, but Moshi said Geoffrey won the contest. I wanted to argue, but then realized that Moshi was probably right. I decided I wanted to be a good sport. So even though I was disappointed, I congratulated Geoffrey and let him know he did a great job. Then we went for a swim and played together for the rest of our time at the barn. We had a lot of fun.

IndyI really do like Geoffrey. He is my best dog friend. I was honest with him that I was disappointed that I lost our game, but I was also happy for him that he won. That’s a sign of true friendship… when you’re happy about your friend’s successes. Geoffrey really appreciated my honest respect.

Jane told me later that she was proud of me. That made me feel really good. Sometimes we need to hear things like that. So, if you’re a mom or a boss or a big sister, maybe you could tell your child, employee, or little sister that you’re proud of them. Let them know that you appreciate them for who they are and what they mean to the family or the company. It’s like food for the soul. We all need a little of that now and then.

I think YOU are just wonderful! Thank you for reading my inspirational side dishes, and thank you for being Jane’s and my friend. Without you to share my thoughts with, I’d be just another dog.

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website