Horses help veterans along a new path in life

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A moving video shows the value of horse-assisted therapy in helping America’s military veterans overcome the challenges in their transition from military to civilian life.

The just-released video shows the benefits from the form of equine-assisted psychotherapy that the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) promotes for use with veterans.

EAGALA is an international nonprofit association for professionals who incorporate horses in programs to address people’s mental health and personal development needs. It has more than 4500 members across 50 countries.

EAGALA's military program involves horses to strengthen resilience and mental health of service members, veterans and their families globally. Photo: EAGALA
EAGALA’s military program involves horses to strengthen resilience and mental health of service members, veterans and their families globally. Photo: EAGALA

Veterans featured in the eight-minute video discuss qualities that enabled them to overcome the challenges they faced when leaving the military and moving back into civilian life.

EAGALA chief executive Lynn Thomas says the video highlights the growing interest in equine-assisted psychotherapy to support the psychological health of those in the military.

EAGALA’s military initiatives are now being used across the globe by certified providers.

“Addressing the effects of trauma is never easy,” Thomas says.

“Within military culture, the challenge is even greater. The special demands placed on our service members require in-depth understanding specific to that culture.”

The EAGALA model uses horses to help military clients understand and recognize patterns, build on their personal strengths, and translate emotional insights into life-changing action.

The video demonstrates the structure of EAGALA sessions as veterans interact with horses.

Working with horses engages military personnel in their own healing process, with solutions that meet them squarely on their own terms. Harnessing the horse-human dynamic helps people work through emotional barriers, serving as metaphors and powerful stand-ins for the people, issues, and challenges in the veteran’s life.

The EAGALA model can lead to powerful emotional breakthroughs and life-changing insights, strengthening resilience and coping skills. Clients can more quickly and completely resolve crises and integrate effective solutions into their lives.

It has been successfully used in the treatment of thousands of active military personnel, veterans, and their families. The program addresses mental and behavior challenges that include reintegration issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, depression, suicide, alcohol and opioid addiction, and other diagnoses.

Veterans in the video highlight the effectiveness of EAGALA horse sessions in overcoming challenges. Photo: EAGALA
Veterans in the video highlight the effectiveness of EAGALA horse sessions in overcoming challenges. Photo: EAGALA

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