Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA)
Adolescent residents participate in weekly Equine-Assisted Therapy, using the EAGALA Model, at the nearby Heritage Hills. EAGALA is a distinctive experiential framework designed to allow clients the ability to discover, learn, and grow from their relationship with horses. The program is built on the premise that it’s the clients who best determine the kinds of life changes they need to make in order to improve their lives. The goal of equine-assisted therapy is to help the client develop needed skills and attributes, such as accountability, responsibility, self-confidence, problem solving skills, and self-control.
EAGALA involves no riding or horsemanship. Instead, it engages the clients in activities such as grooming, feeding, haltering, and leading a horse, which is supervised and guided by a GLRC Mental Health Equine Therapist and a Heritage Hills Equine Specialist. Clients work directly with the horses, face-to-face, enabling them to better perceive the horses’ actions and reactions, as they work to process and solve their life challenges. Equine therapy also provides an innovative treatment milieu, which allows the therapist and client to identify and address a range of emotional and behavioral challenges.
Be it their size, their looks, or the soft touch of their noses, horses have a special ability to help people work through emotional barriers without shame or stigma. Horses have a special capacity to read and respond to peoples’ non-verbal signals and cues– leading to powerful emotions and insights.