Tell Me, Why Horses and Therapy?

Our Equine Psychotherapist shared with us why she chooses to incorporate horses and therapy.

Angie began loving horses at a very young age. If there was a horse anywhere in her vicinity, that’s where you would find her. It was a passion that ignited from her first encounter. Horses have been a part of her life since early childhood. The barn has always served as a sanctuary for her to be herself and not worry about the stressors of life.  It is an understatement to say that Angie was ecstatic when she discovered her daughter shares her passion for horses. After purchasing their daughter her first horse in 2012, it was blatantly clear to her that horses and humans have an incredible relational connection. The experience of their growing relationship with each other and interactions really touched her spirit.  Angie experienced first hand and by witnessing her daughter’s experience that horses were non-judgmental, relational and acutely aware of their surroundings. Horses are always present and mindful. All of which she recognized were perfect ingredients for facilitating therapy.

During her extensive research Angie learned how much horses had to offer any of her clients - and not just her horse loving ones. As prey animals, horses were biologically created to have very sensitive senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste) as well as a auto flight response which allows them to survive in nature. All very closely related to a human brain’s ANS (automatic nervous system).  Because the limbic system of the brain of the horse and the human brain are so similar, it makes them amazing members of the therapeutic team. Horses can reveal and reflect emotions and behaviors that allow humans to engage in self discovery, change and ultimately healing.

Angie coupled being a Licensed Mental Health Therapist with her affinity for horses through pursuing training and certification in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. After reviewing the multiple equine therapy certifications, she discovered the organization, EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.) EAGALA’s model is: ground-based, solution focused, client centered and utilizes horses as members of the therapeutic team.  Aligning with the fundamental aspects of the model, Angie was elated that she could combine her passion for horses with her passion of being a Therapist. She completed the EAGALA mental health counselor training certification and became certified as an Equine Assisted Psychotherapist in 2014.

The natural yet powerful environment of creating a space for clients to be able to embark on their personal wellness journeys with the accompaniment of horses (1,200 lb animals) create experiences that are so unique and beautiful.  Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an experiential therapy meaning it is a “hands on” emotionally “live” experience. Research has shown that experiential therapy allows for actual shifts in the nervous system of the brain which creates change.

The horses are always true to themselves and always reveal honest feedback. Angie believes that horses and therapy are synergistic and synonymous - they just connect!

Angie is one of the Founders of Promises Growth & Healing Center, a non profit whose mission is to foster growth and healing through the unspoken truth of the equine spirit.

Katrina Ann Ventola