I feel like God has always put horses in my life, I have been around them since I was born and always felt drawn to them and their beauty. I began riding with my mom probably before I could walk. I finally convinced my parents to get me a pony when I was 9. Her name was Bucky, a little brown shetland with a few white spots on her withers. The day after my first horse show that summer, my dad had a massive heart attack and passed away 2 days later at the age of 42. I was traumatized, I shut down, and the only one I really talked to anymore was that pony. That pony took care of me, more than I ever knew. I continued riding and competing, I was determined to be a professional rider. I competed in 4H, Pony Club, and USEA events and taught lessons, but continued on with my education at the same time. I found horses to be a safe place--healing, helpful, and always getting me through tough times. I discovered Animal Assisted Therapy and Equine Therapy, and I knew it was what I needed to be doing. I went on to get my Masters in Counseling and complete ABD of my PhD in Clinical Counseling: Teaching and Supervision. I was determined to write about Equine Therapy, and without enough relevant research out at the time I was proposing my dissertation I was unable to get it approved. I knew I had to get out there and help with Equine Therapy, even if that meant going out and getting some new research done.
Throughout my years of research on Equine Assisted Therapy, I found the EAGALA model of training and certification to be the global standard model for EAP, and I was finally able to get my certification done in May of 2018 in Eau Claire, WI. The EAGALA training/certification was an incredible experience for me, bringing my two worlds of horses and psychotherapy together in a beautifully meaningful way. All the years I have spent with horses all made sense now as to why they were always such a healing outlet for me. I have always had a passion for horses and for helping others, I am so thankful to be able to provide such a meaningful service to others.
The idea of Yoga with Horses had been a thought process for a good friend of mine and I for a while, but once I was trained in EAGALA and ready to start seeing clients for therapy with my horses, I decided it was time for this to come to life as well. PaQuita helped to envision what that first class would be like, and lead an incredible sunrise vinyasa flow that can only be described as a magical experience. I have found that Yoga with Horses tends to be a healing outlet for participants as well as good physical activity. I am so blessed to be able to work with my horses helping people, and getting to watch them respond differently to each person, situation, or class.