As I write this post, the sun is brilliant on crisp snow, while the neighbour’s alpacas, horses, and donkey relax peacefully after their morning feed. There is a feeling of settlement and coming to terms with the upheavals brought to us by the pandemic and ongoing shocks that resonated around the world in 2020. What next? As with everyone else, I am hoping that we have learned some valuable lessons about the effects of stillness and quiet on the planet and ourselves. For those who have suffered greatly this year, and those who remain in distress, whether with health issues, finances, or both, may you be blessed with more uplifting circumstances and healing as we begin 2021. While my optimism for the future is cautious, I believe we must look forward with hope and gratitude for all that our hearts hold dear.
January of 2021 will be a very “horse-centric” month for me and a few professionals in the field of Equine Assisted Mental Health and Equine Assisted Learning. It is going to be a fascinating in-depth discussion about “Tending to Our Equine Partners”.
Anyone interested in following the online group will need to make a request to join The EAMH/EAL Resource Network with Leif Hallberg and Friends if not a member already.
See details in the press release below, and please share with anyone who may want to follow the posts:
December 23, 2020
For release: Immediately
Co-author, The Compassionate Equestrian
Equine-Assisted Mental Health and Equine Assisted Learning are part of a rapidly expanding industry in which horses play a central role given their capacity to interact with humans at a level that helps therapists work with clientele ranging from veterans to PTSD to anxiety disorders, substance abuse and overall wellness and mental health.
A pioneer in the field, Leif Hallberg, MA, LPC, LCPC recently created a Facebook Group named EAMH/EAL Resource Network. Hallberg is an innovator in the field of experiential therapies and a pioneer and leading expert in the field of equine interactions. Her books are used as a teaching text across the United States and internationally.
Her online group is now the fastest growing in the industry with over 1800 members around the world. Along with relevant daily posts, a group of moderators manage a learning “unit” ever other month on a specific theme.
Co-author of The Compassionate Equestrian, Susan Gordon (2015, Trafalgar Square Books/Horse and Rider Books, Schoen/Gordon), will be a moderator for one of the bi-monthly learning units in January. The unit is titled “Tending to Our Equine Partners.” Her segment of the month-long online learning experience for the week of January 18-24 will feature the topic, “Handling and Caring for Rescued and Traumatized Horses.”
Additional moderators include Katarina Felicia-Lundgren of the MiMer Centre in Sweden, and her colleague Marta Sikorska of Poland, and Juliana Brossolette of Conscious Equine Connections in British Columbia, Canada.
Gordon has more than forty years of horse training experience having been fascinated with the process of human-equine interactions since she was a child. While specialized in sport horses and the rehabilitation of off-track Thoroughbreds, she has a broad range of experiences from western events to show jumping and dressage.
It is not unusual to find horses with stress, anxiety, and trauma-induced behaviors similar to those of humans. Unfortunately, such horses may find themselves being reintroduced to a new situation without a full assessment or understanding of their history. Included with this discussion will be the most current scientific research regarding traumatic experiences and how they affect horses both mentally and physically.
While most horses in EAMH programs are not ridden, they may still exhibit behaviors and triggers due to a history of abusive training practices or an environment that did not support a horse’s essential needs for movement and socialization.
According to Gordon’s experience with such horses, “The compassionate rehabilitation of a traumatized horse is exceptionally rewarding, as it becomes a two-way exchange of healing, trust, and a return to wholeness.”
Anyone who is involved with Equine Assisted Services either as a practitioner, student, or those with an interest in the field may request to join the closed Facebook group; The EAMH/EAL Resource Network with Leif Hallberg and Friends.
Wishing all of you a very Happy Holiday Season and many blessings for the upcoming New Year. May peace and good health be restored to Earth and to all sentient beings.
The Compassionate Equestrian blog is written by the book’s co-author, Susan Gordon, a professional horse trainer and artist living on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada. For information regarding co-author Dr. Allen Schoen DVM, please refer to his website at www.drschoen.com
For dog and horse portraits and other paintings follow me on Instagram: susan.greenpony