The Counseling Center is offering equine therapy sessions at the Rhoden Farm. Students have access to work with horses to help them deal with their struggles.
Steve Eller, a licensed professional counselor with the MACCC and a certified Eagala counselor, is offering individual or group sessions every Friday in April.
“We’re setting up the month of April and doing an open group just to get the interest out there,” Eller said. “This way people can be familiar with it. It’s for people who want to come out and not call it counseling, just to work on anxiety and obstacles.”
The sessions involve the Eagala method, which is working 100% on the ground with horses. The horses participants interact with have been through training in order to be able to save those who are not experienced with horses. According to Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, “the Eagala Model provides an innovative solution that provides a unique space for an emotionally safe, hands-on experience for clients.”
Kaley Bates, a junior animal science major from Houston, works with these horses daily.
“They have to be used to having a lot of people moving around them and they have to be trained to stay calm and not react in those types of situations,” Bates said.
Eller said this method of getting out of the office has benefits.
“We find that sometimes when getting out into the arena and around horses, away from the stuff at home, they let down their guard and are able to talk about things a little deeper,” Eller said.
The university horseback riding team joined Eller in a group session recently and found a way to work together as a team to complete a task. Bates is one of the leaders of the team.
“The session helped me realize that everyone’s opinions matter just as much as mine and when I am in a leadership position you can’t discount others’ ideas,” Bates said.
Eller brought equine therapy to Abilene after getting certified because he believed it was a great fit.
“ACU already has the arena and the trained horses and skills to apply it and be able to offer it,” Eller said.
The one-hour sessions will take place at 2:30 pm at the Rhoden Farm, seven miles north of I-20, for $15 per person in a group session and $35 for an individual session.
The spots are limited and open to students, faculty and the staff community. You can sign up using this link.
For more information contact Steve Eller, email@example.com or call 325-674-2876