Horse Sense of the Carolinas began working with veterans' organizations and groups in 2012, having specialized in 2003-2011 with issues of addiction, trauma, and depression/anxiety. Working with a general population of both adults and youth set us up to be well-informed when addressing the growing needs of our veterans.
Horses provide veterans and their families a door in to working through challenges great and small, whether improving communication skills, increasing sensitivity to the needs of self and others, acquiring "feel" of these and other "soft" skills, and/or practicing "love, language and leadership in equal doses" (a la Pat Parelli).
Why Choose to do Equine Therapy at Horse Sense?
Horse Sense of the Carolinas has been providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy & Learning services in Western North Carolina for more than a decade. We are the oldest, most experienced and most professional dedicated Equine Assisted Practice in WNC. Horse Sense staff are EAGALA-certified, Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy trained, and have staff with thousands of client-contact hours in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Our core model for treatment is EAGALA.
Horse Sense enjoys being a leader in the field and the standard by which other Equine Assisted Practices are gauged. We are routinely sought after for presentations and trainings all over the world by and for other Equine Assisted Professionals, offering continuing education credits for multiple training and certifying organizations in the field.
HORSE SENSE IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED THE MILITARY SERVICE DESIGNATION!
There is a growing interest in equine-assisted psychotherapy supporting the psychological health and family relationships of service members, veterans and their families worldwide.
EAGALA Military Services is a designation which indicates the EAGALA Certified professionals have specialized training and experience in the military community. The designation requires an annual renewal in which providers must complete continuing education each year to remain abreast of current military lifestyle and issues.
EAGALA Military Services sets a high standard of excellence - respecting the cultural and professional competence needed to provide the best services possible for the military community.
New events added all the time! Sign up for our Veterans-Specific mailing list to be kept up to speed!
What kind of EAP is offered at Horse Sense?
Horse Sense of the Carolinas staff is trained and certified to offer Equine Assisted Psychotherapy utilizing the EAGALA model and Natural Lifemanship. EAGALA (the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning Association) is an international organization that provides training and certification in this field, as well as establishes standards of practice, ethics, and safety. It is 100% unmounted and is the treatment model for every client at Horse Sense of the Carolinas. We utilize EAGALA for all clients and employ a trauma focus when indicated. Learn more about it at EAGALA.org.
We also offer Natural Lifemanship, an additional trauma-focused intervention that involves mounted work. Sometimes, our clinical staff determines that mounted work would be of additional benefit to our clients. In that case clients might also participate in mounted work in the course of their therapy sessions. This is determined largely by treatment goals and diagnoses. Folks who participate in our Multi-Day Immersion Retreats may also have the option to participate in mounted work. Natural Lifemanship was developed by Tim Jobe and Bettina Shultz Jobe. More information about that is available at NaturalLifemanship.com.
What can I do with Horses at Horse Sense?
- Fall-In Fridays: Directed playtime with horses in a variety of ways. We might do some Equine Assisted Learning activities, we might take our horses for a walk in the labyrinth...it all depends on how many folks join us and the varying skill levels. Open to any veteran from 10-12 on any Friday (you may want to email or call to confirm in bad weather or just as a matter of caution, or check the Veterans Horseplay WNC Facebook Page). Caregivers/Spouses always welcome; children are welcome by appointment for Family Events only (see below). New veterans to the farm report at 9:30am!
- Equine Assisted Therapy sessions: Counseling/Therapy sessions with a Licensed mental health professional, a horse professional and one or more horses. This is for folks who want to spend directed, focused time working through some issues and don't want to do it in an office! Usually there are about 8-12 sessions per Therapy series. All clients participate in EAGALA-Model EAP at Horse Sense of the Carolinas; some clients continue their treatment with us through Rhythmic Riding, developed by Natural Lifemanship, a trauma-informed approach to equine psychotherapy. Email Talia@horsesenseotc.com to schedule your first session.
- Retreats: Our retreats offer a combination of a variety of services, including Yoga, Meditation, EAGALA-Model EAP, and components of Natural Lifemanship. We offer Women-Only, Co-Ed, and Couples retreats throughout the year, as well as a Caregivers retreat (for the first time this year!). Further down the page is our retreat schedule. To register for any event, email Talia@horsesenseotc.com. There is no deposit required for the 1/2 day or full day events; there is a $50 deposit to hold your slot at our Multi-Day/Night Immersion Retreats; Checks returned the day retreat begins!
- Family Events: Family events are scheduled by appointment only, and range from Family half-day playdays to weekend therapy/reintegration retreats at the farm. Email Shannon to inquire and arrange: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Volunteering: Volunteering is always welcome, and there are a number of different ways to plug in. If you are interested in volunteering, please email our Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com.
Does it work?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, Equine Therapy / Animal-assisted Therapy "has shown to be effective in treating patients, including combat veterans, with PTSD, depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders and other chronic mental illnesses."
We are pleased to offer this program for veterans throughout Western North Carolina through the support of Heart of Horse Sense, a 501c3 that fundraises to support equine therapy for veterans, their families, and at-risk youth.
Free of Charge to Veterans & their families but registration is required!
New events added all the time! Sign up for our Veterans-Specific
mailing list to be kept up to speed!
(remember to check calendar for updates!)
Enjoy a relaxing day at our beautiful 110 acre ranch just outside of Asheville.
Spend a day with Horse Sense of the Carolinas, bringing servicemen/women and animals together for mutual understanding, healing and personal growth.
2017 RETREATS (Thursday through Sunday)
Access Our 2017 Veterans's Immersion Flier HERE
Participation is FREE, but registration is REQUIRED
Fully refundable $50 registration fee to hold your spot
Email Talia@HorseSenseOTC.com with questions and to Register!
April 19th - 23rd
May 17th - 21st
Sept 27th - Oct 1st
Oct 18th - Oct 22nd
Indoor lodging sleeps 3 to a room
Tent camping also available if you prefer
Introductory Tours/Demonstrations: Saturdays: 12 noon
Volunteer Orientation Sessions: Saturdays: 1-1:30pm
March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8, Aug 12, Sept 9, Oct 14, Nov 11
(Days/Times subject to change; visit the calendar page to confirm dates and times)
New events added all the time! Sign up for our Veterans-Specific
mailing list to be kept up to speed!
Read More About Our Work!
❖ Veterans, Horses Bond for Weekend Program (Gilford Steamer, Gilford NH, July 2, 2015)
Recent Studies on Equine Therapy and Veterans
Dec 2013: In partnership with Traverse City and Cadillac Community VA Outpatient Clinics, Pre and Post-assessment (PTSD Checklist-Military Version: PCL-M) showed:
⬧ 50% clinically significant reduction of symptoms
⬧ 72% reduction of symptoms that was statistically significant
⬧ 83% reduction of symptoms
Jan 2012: In partnership with Warrior Transition Battalion in Fort Carson, CO, Pre and Post-assessment (OQ45.2) showed:
⬧ decrease in stress in all four domains of symptom distress, interpersonal functioning, social role and well-being
⬧ 29% decrease in violence risk
⬧ 62% decrease in suicide risk
Comments from VA and other Military Mental Health Professionals on how Equine impacted individual therapy work:
❖ "He has made significant progress and continues to be motivated to move ahead...equine therapy group had the biggest impact on him. It was the first time he really pushed himself to be in a more social situation. It increased his self-esteem immeasurably.”
❖ “She is taking more risks in therapy since attending 5 sessions..., taking greater responsibility for her therapy and recovery.”
❖ “After an experiential session of [Equine] therapy, she started making a connection from being a victim to seeing her role in her symptoms.”
Comments from Equine Assisted Therapies participants:
❖ "This experience helped me relax and recognize how I may be perceived by others"
❖ "This was extremely valuable as it got me out of my sort of hermit comfort zone, out of the house and interacting socially with other people, other veterans and, for the first time, with horses."
❖ "The experiences with the horses really takes me out of my head and puts me in the moment".
❖ "Working with horses puts an emphasis on acknowledging my own energy/tensions and learning I need to let them go to better my interactions."
❖ "In my time at Horse Sense, I learned that I am capable of facing my fears and calming myself down."
❖ "A lot of stress has been lifted and I have found a new lease on life."
❖ “I have gotten out of the house more.”
❖ "I felt for a long time that my life was coming to an end and I wasn’t very old for my life to be over."
❖ “Fun thought provoking peaceful, soul searching, making connections facing fears and doubts. Uplifting, spiritual.”
❖ “It's the first time in many years I have felt comfortable and safe.”
In the News: Veterans and Horses
- Reining in PTSD with Equestrian Therapy (Veterans Health Administration, September 18, 2014)
- Equine Therapy Helps Veterans Cope with Trauma (Channel 5, Minn/St.Paul)