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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.