Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. Within the EAP/EAL field which is growing (over 200% in last 3 years) we have a PsyD docorate level mental health professional - who also has a heavy background in Bio Feed Back, Clinical Trials and Metaphorical Learning.
In addition that - we go the extra 5 miles with regard to providing top care and maintenance to our 4 legged therapists and teachers... Natural balance foot trimming and equalibrium dentistry allows them to have 100% physical balance (while loose in the arena with clients), we also provide organic grass hay, organic feeds regimen and a customized supplement program. Lastly and most importantly - we select our horses with criteria showing an aptitude for this work. Any equine can do EAP/EAL - however we select horses whose hearts beat to this work...this way they dont get burned out and we can provide the highest quality EAP / EAL services possible!
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. That it is constantly changing! Every client - and every session is a new experience based on the specifics of the process and the horses interact or react differently to each set of circumstances... So I never know what to expect, nor can we predict how a session will play out. Keeps you fresh and also endeared to the process and the work!
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Q: Is this Therapeutic Riding or Hippotherapy?
A: No, while we recognize the massive benefits of both modalities - EAP/EAL is very different and serves a different population / needs. However we have created quite a list of therapy riding centers to refer people when they call seeking these services...
We offer NO Riding in our program...all EAP/EAL work is performed un-mounted with horses loose (to start out with anyway) and in "free will"...it is this part that allows the horse(s) to be most expressive of what internal struggles or triumphs may be living within the clients internal life...
Q: Is EAP/EAL safe? Loose horses in a space with loose clients???
A: YES - EAP / EAL is very safe. A survey done by EAGALA in 2008 asked how many injuries were reported in that year. In over 30,000 sessions surveyed there were only 5 incidents reported that required ANY kind of medical care (could be a bandaid) and out of those 5 only 2 required a visit to the ER or Doctor...Essentially we ask clients to "be aware of their space at all times". This sets up some great boundary exercises but mostly serves to keep everyone safe.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. Christianna Capra, Executive Director and Co-Founder.
My horse led me to this work ultimately. All my life has been involved and surrounded with horses, and for many years I searched for a way to combine my passion for horses to a career. In 2006 a series of events led me to the connections needed to find my calling and life's work. A book chapter that details this story was published in the book called, Horses with a Mission, Extraordinary True Stories of Equine Service (New World Library, 2009). Our story was chosen to be one of 21 heart warming stories from thousands of online entries. "Finding My Passionate Purpose with Spring Thaw"
See a link to the chapter here: http://www.springreinsofhope.com/PDF/SROH-About%20Us%20-HorsesWithAMission-Final%20Web%202009%20Story.pdf
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. YES! Our teams of mental health professionals (MHP) and equine specialists (ES) are constantly updating our credentials. We attend approved CE credit courses provided by EAGALA (our international certifying body) and also are active in the research and profiling of this growing field of equine assisted services. The horses also actually keep us engaged and learning - we have learned that in each session or workshop that we do there is the opportunity for us to learn something new by observing and staying tuned into what information the horses provide and HOW they provide it. We are focused on constantly expanding and exploring our perimeters with regard to the intensity and power of this work in EAP and EAL.
Its a life time journey of learning and growing.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. We will work with clients any way we can to accomodate budgets.
Since the APA (American Psych Assoc) has endorsed AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) as a viable mode of treatment there is funding available for this to non profit orgs. Also many insurance carriers are now willing to cover at least a portion of services.
Pricing is based on our PsyD office hour rates combined with the cost of overhead for our 4 legged therapists and teachers...
Horses are expensive to maintain, but in this work the value of what they provide and the timely manner in which long lasting results are granted make it well worth the investment.
Individual private session: $250.00
Couples session: $350.00
Family rate: $450.00
Group rates; Range from $1,750.00 - $15,000.00
(please inquire with us as this price range depends upon many things)
CASH, Multiple sessions and some other factors may allow us to offer discounts on standard rates.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Research, Read and Ask Questions...
There are several programs out there as this field is growing so fast...
We chose the EAGALA Model because they are international, very organized, and have a sound ethics and code of ethics which made us feel safe! Everyone would need to explore on their own what mode is the best fit for them. The only thing I must stress is - the horses are the business! Without them this is not possible so treat them as equals / colleagues with respect and the best care possible... :)