by | Oct 31, 2023 | Therapeutic Riding

HOTR employees pictured left to right: Morgan Williams, Amber Schwartz, Robin Ferren, Les Barnhart, and Courtney Wilson [Photo: submitted]

SENTINEL BUTTE, N.D. — Five Home On The Range employees were recently certified in EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association). EAGALA is a unique team approach to therapy consisting of a licensed therapist, an equine specialist, horse(s) and participants. EAGALA is used to help youth deal with complex trauma issues such as grief, addiction, depression, trauma, anxiety, and many other emotional or physiological issues. The participants don’t ride the horses. Everything is done on the ground, and the horses interact freely with the youth.  The role of the team is to provide guidance to help the children process the activity.

The benefits of EAGALA groups is to give immediate, real-time feedback to the youth. The participants gain incredible insight into their behaviors or actions just by the way the horses interact. Horses are a natural prey animal, highly intuitive and vigilant, nonjudgmental, and have their own unique personality. Each session is different, unrehearsed, and unpredictable making the activity “therapy without feeling like therapy.” Some of the life skills the children learn are compassion, patience, empathy, forgiveness, and love of themselves and others.

HOTR Resident participating in EAGALA activity explaining what each symbol represents. [Photo: submitted]

Home On The Range uses EAGALA for individual and group sessions. It is also used as an extension with the ranch’s other programs, such as Ending The Game, My Life My Choice, or drug and alcohol programs. Other Home On The Range equine assisted therapies include rhythmic riding, team driving and T-Touch.

Home On The Range is a therapeutic and working ranch which helps boys and girls ages 12-19 who may have experienced or witnessed trauma, neglect, or abuse. It is located in western North Dakota near the town of Sentinel Butte.

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