Welcome to Sundance Growth & Learning Stable

Megan Sundeen

Certified Teacher / Equine Specialist 

About Us

Our Horses Help People!

At the Sundance Stable we offer experiential Equine-Assisted growth and  learning to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and  groups.  Our approach is a land-based hands-on experience with horses.   No horseback riding and no horse experience needed.  Horses have an  amazing innate ability to heal and teach by mirroring human body  language.  People will overcome social and developmental issues, rebuild  positive relationships and are rewarded with healthy life changing  opportunities. 

Why Horses?

 

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."  

                                                - Winston Churchill

What type of therapy is this?

 Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)  incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and  learning.  Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) incorporates horses as well  but addresses learning goals.  It is a collaborative effort between  a mental health professional, a horse professional and horses working  with the clients to address treatment goals.  There is no horseback  riding.  All activities take place 100% on the ground interacting with  horses in their natural environment. 

What differentiates the terms?

 

  • The population being served
  • The goal/objectives of the services
  • The focus of facilitation based on the agreed upon goals

Why Horses?

Like humans, horses are social animals.   Horses are non-judgmental, have a gentle spirit and an acceptance of  human beings.  They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods.   Having the ability to mirror human body language and give non-verbal  feedback  makes them powerful messengers.  Naturally horses can benefit  people's mental well being; such as, work ethic, responsibility,  assertiveness, communication, healthy relationships and mental health  needs. 

How does EAP Differ From Horsemanship?

 Spending any time with horses, whether  it be riding, leisure, or sport, is certainly beneficial mentally,  emotionally, physically and spiritually, EAP offers the following  benefits to individuals, groups and families that specifically address  mental, emotional and behavioral issues:

  • Focus  is on human skills, not horse skills.  Horsemanship is about the  instructor directing specific skills with horses.  EAP is about the  clients being themselves.
  • A  treatment team consists of a horse professional and clinician.  This  team approach improves both the physical and emotional safety of  sessions.
  • Specific  treatment goals, objectives and interventions are identified and  documented.  Sessions are structured and facilitated to deliberately  address the reasons clients came to therapy.
  • EAP  activities are designed to best create metaphors to "real life."  This  allows for metaphorical learning as everything done with the horses is  related to what is happening at home, school, work, in relationships,  etc.

Testimony

Girl - Age 17

 At 17, I didn't have a license, I  dropped out of school, I resented the fact that I wasn't independent  but also wasn't sure what I wanted out of life.  I started therapy  because I wanted to work with the horses and thought that talking to  someone couldn't hurt my situation, though I wasn't all that convinced  that it would help either.  I had been through counseling before with  little to show for it other than bills and disdain for the practice.  My  favorite part of working with Megan and Angie is if didn't feel like  talking they didn't try to force me.  On days that I felt like talking  they listened ttentively and advised me as best they could, even if it  wasn't what I wanted to hear.  They were usually right.  The activities  seemed unimportant and in vain but they were fun.  I didn't realize  until weeks later rereading my journal that I had accomplished  everything.

At  18, I've had a full time job for over a year and my license almost as  long, I've found ways to communicate with my parents and work through  conflict and I am scheduled to get my GED by July (2015).  Megan and  Angie helped me discern, prioritize and work toward my goals while  helping me manage and work through my anxiety.  I'm grateful to these  lovely women as well as my mother for putting me in the program. 

Girl - Age 16

 If the truth be known, ask a horse.  When  I crossed over the fence and stepped into the horse arena for the first  time, I looked into the eyes of a horse and I saw myself.  Almost like  magic, he could sense how I was feeling that first day.  He knew I was  scared and hopeful at the same time.  After trust was established , he  was aware if I was feeling jumpy or grumpy, or joyful and happy upon  each visit.  Each time I greeted the horse, and touched his velvety  nose, I never imagined that a horse would allow me to get in touch with  my own feelings without judging me.  The horse taught me how to open up  and communicate better. He taught me about trust, responsibility, and  how to make better choices.  This is where I came each week to find my  moment of truth.  Of course a horse knows a lot, but this is where Megan  enters the arena.  Megan Sundeen, Founder/Owner/Teacher/Equine  Specialist, of the Sundance Growth and Learning Stable, is responsible  for my growth and progress.  Without Megan, there would be no therapy,  no transformation, no trust and no changes.  Megan, just like the horse,  kept a watchful eye on me.  She nodded, smiled, watched my actions  carefully and took notes.  She noted my temperament, my actions; my  fears and my happiness.  She guided me with her expert knowledge to  teach me how to trust myself and the decisions that I made and will make  in the future.  She gently nudged me in the right direction, and led me  to own and trust my own actions, all the while allowing me to take off  and explore my feelings.  Megan, too, could sense if I was feeling jumpy  or grumpy, joyful and happy upon each visit.  I had to gain Megan's  trust, just like the horse's.  And, just like the horse, Megan is a real  work horse too.  Megan really cared about me and my progress and  growth.  As I looked into the horse's eyes, I saw what was happening to  me.  As I transpired, I learned what I loved about myself as well as  what areas of development I still neded to improve upon.  As the horses  tapped their hoofs, I discovered, with Megan's guidance how to tap into  my own healing power.  I am hopefully headed in the right directions  thanks to Megan and her horses.  

Mother - of 16 year old girl

 Take a horse and a teenager and put them  together and what do you get....an amazing transformation!  After an  8-week equine session at the Sundance Growth and Learning Stable, the  relationship with our daughter has become much happier and healthier.   She has displayed improved self-esteem, self-confidence and the ability  to open up and communicate her feelings.  This therapy has helped to  develop her attention skills and she can now apply more self-control in  many aspects of her life.  When working with a horse, respect,  responsibility and caring are vital; these are attributes we have seen  her mirror.  While our daughter has established a nurturing relationship  with Megan and her horses, this learning experience has assisted and  allowed her the freedom to carry this healthy relationship over to us,  her parents, as well as friends and in society.  We have begun to notice  that her creative thinking, problem solving and leadership skills are  improving.  All the accolades cannot be bestowed upon the horses.  Megan  Sundeen, certified equine specialist and teacher, has guided our  daughter, by providing her with positive growth exercises;  allowing her  to accomplish a weekly goal.  With compassion, caring, and skill, Megan  has observed, interacted, recorded, and offered support to our daughter  from beginning to end.  Meanwhile, back at the home ranch, our arena  has been much calmer, peaceful and more fulfilling as we enjoy  interacting as a family unit.  Hopefully, or daughter has hung up her  spurs, and has decided that communication, problem solving and  self-esteem are the best lessons to apply for the many adventures that  await her.  It is our hope that greener pastures will be in her future.   The old saying, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them  drink" does not apply to our daughter and her equine experience.  She  had quite a thirst for change and she was hungry for all the lessons  that Megan and the horses taught her.  A horse of course.....has been a  miracle!  A grateful family.