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BHW Blog

BHW In the Press – Benefits of CSR Teambuilding

Posted on: November 16th, 2018 by Berkshire HorseWorks , No Comments

A recent article published in the October issue of Insurance & Financial Meetings Management titled “CSR-Enhanced Teambuilding: Delivering a ‘Return on Emotion,'” speaks to the tremendous benefits of corporate teambuilding. According to Jonathan Denmark, President and COO of MountainOne Insurance, who recently brought his sales team to Berkshire HorseWorks for a half day equine assisted teambuilding workshop, “It really humanized people. It broke down a lot of the thick barriers and made them a little more vulnerable… The feedback was absolutely incredible. They say, ‘This is really unique. My company and my leader really care about me. They want us to improve in these situations.'” Corporate social responsibility (CSR) teambuilding has always existed to improve the cohesiveness of companies, but now the options have evolved beyond “ropes courses and bike building.” Some key benefits of Equine Assisted Teambuilding (EAT) programming include:

  • Enhanced Problem-Solving
  • Increased Empathy
  • Navigation of Cultural Differences

Berkshire HorseWorks, now celebrating its 5th year, has increased its focus on cultivating equine assisted teambuilding workshops, the money from which will go directly fund therapeutic equine programs for those at risk. To learn more about CSR teambuilding and the work done here at BHW check out the article (on page 22) in the link below.
http://www.themeetingmagazines.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/PDFs_IFMM-2018/IFMM-2018-0910SepOct-Issue-Interactive.pdf#page=12

Bullying and Equine Therapy

Posted on: October 16th, 2018 by Rose Battista , No Comments

Hello! I’m Rose Battista, a new volunteer at Berkshire Horseworks from Miss Hall’s School. I plan on writing blogs on recent discoveries about mental health ,development and teambuilding in hopes we at BHW can be of some help.

Social, verbal and physical bullying throughout elementary, middle, and high school has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. Sadly, it is not something that will go away quickly or easily. Bullying goes much deeper than it can seem. According to a recent article entitled “Experts: Bullying Partly Driven by Development, Self-regulation,” bullying of young children from their peers can stem from a variety of things ranging from rapid changes in school or family situations to general power imbalance because of disparity in perceived privilege. No one wants to be the victim of bullying and many try to find solutions to the problem. There are times that the policies put in place to prevent bullying do more to harm than to help. The idea of a “zero-tolerance” expulsion policy may seem like a good plan; however, the article referenced above says that bullying may be an “indicator of other behavioral issues for children who could continue to benefit from positive interaction with other students and adults at school” instead of immediate expulsion or suspension. I actually agree with the latter statement. If a child is automatically expelled it prevents the opportunity to fully excel and give him/her a chance to evolve and forge new connections.

Through EAGALA Model equine assisted psychotherapy and life skill development practiced here at Berkshire HorseWorks and in 50 countries around the world, bullies can see the immediate result of their actions. Since horses feel no need to hide their reactions or to put on a brave face, they will show a very genuine response if someone tries to communicate with them through yelling or bullying. Horses will mirror behavior of the person in the arena whether it is positive or negative. Horses are intuitive and non judgmental but they are also prey animals so they need to know in any given moment whether they can trust you. Because of this the horse then becomes a metaphor for either the interactions between a bully and a person being bullied or just the object of the bullying. This experiential learning will enable the bully to actually see and feel the impact of his or her behavior on others, and according to Aspen Education, “recognize their own dysfunctional behavior”. This modality helps them find a more positive way to communicate and interact with peers.

Sources
The Newnan Times-Herald. (2018). Experts: Bullying partly driven by development, self-regulation. http://times-herald.com/news/2018/10/experts-bullying-partly-driven-by-development-self-regulation [Accessed 9 Oct. 2018].

Aspeneducation.crchealth.com. (2018). How Horses Help Kids with Emotional & Behavioral Issues | Aspen Education Programs. https://aspeneducation.crchealth.com/articles/article-equine-therapy/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2018].

Trump Anxiety

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by Berkshire HorseWorks , No Comments

Heart pounding, inability to breathe, sweating, stomach aches, sound familiar? I hate anxiety and I have been SO anxious lately, what is going on!? After taking to the internet for some answers it seems I am not the only one with heightened anxiety these days. After doing some research I found a common theme in a multitude of articles and reports dedicated to unraveling why anxiety is on the rise throughout the country.

According to Jeremy Clyman, Psy.D in Psychology Today, “This unsettling trend seems made up of heightened negative emotional states (sadness, grief, fear, anger, frustration, etc.) and pronounced worry about societal injustice, dysfunction and catastrophe. I dub it Trump Anxiety” With rising records of “Trump Induced Anxiety”, self-care and positive interventions have become crucial coping mechanisms for navigating our current political climate. Managing this anxiety on an individual level, in ways that are productive and healing to you, has become a tricky problem that many feel at a loss to solve.

“There is a fear of the world ending,” Elisabeth LaMotte, founder of D.C. Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, told CBC. “It’s very disorienting and constantly unsettling.” (Breitbart.com)
Psychologist Jeremy Clyman suggests two coping strategies in his article, “Since Trump Anxiety breeds unavoidable and righteous negative emotions… we have to channel these emotions constructively. So after the radical acceptance step, we must take the lingering emotional energy and intentionally channel it through healthy choices and behaviors… There are always only two options in this vein – suppress or express.”

While one should never strive to be uninformed, allowing oneself to focus on the micro aspects of daily life during this time is a perfectly acceptable tool to use for maintaining daily functioning and managing this anxiety. For those who feel moved to take action as a means to cope, there are many options available on the ground level to inspire change. Creating a Facebook Fundraiser or GoFundMe for a charity of choice is one great way to stay involved and feel connected to others with similar beliefs. Becoming engaged in community events and volunteering can also help foster interpersonal support and reduce feelings of isolation and division in this chilling sociopolitical atmosphere. Most importantly, taking slivers of time to practice positivity through simple actions such as taking a walk, mindful breathing exercises, and spending time with our pets and loved ones can make a world of difference. Spread the word and ask one another, what works for you? Open the dialogue and find connection.

As an employee at Berkshire HorseWorks, I have seen how working with horses and in the EAGALA model can help alleviate some measure of anxiety. Find a local ranch or barn that offers equine assisted psychotherapy or learning if you are interested in exploring the benefits of this therapeutic modality. For those times when humanity becomes too dark, spending time with animals and in nature can lend healing energy as a salve for the soul. The first place to begin reconnecting is with yourself and the earth.

GIRLS ALOUD! A CONCERT ADVOCATING GIRLS EMPOWERMENT

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by Berkshire HorseWorks , No Comments

Miss Hall’s School students, Anna Kim and Tiffany Luu will host “Girls Aloud! Advocating Girls Empowerment,” from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, at The Barn at the Egremont Village Inn, 17 South Main Street in Egremont.

Proceeds from the show will benefit Berkshire HorseWorks, so please take some time to support both Anna and Tiffany as well as BHW!

Here is a link to the School’s website with more information.

https://www.misshalls.org/page/news-detail?pk=1176429&fromId=210444

Help us get our equines back in shape!

Posted on: February 4th, 2018 by Hayley , No Comments

We here at Berkshire HorseWorks are starting to get out equines back into shape after they had a few months off due to the weather and our move! We are seeking one or two experienced riders (must be at least intermediate level) to help us bring our boys back into work. This will be a volunteer/intern basis and we are hoping to have someone out at least 2x a week to work with our Barn and Equine Manager.

Anyone who is interested and would like more information should contact Hayley Sumner at Hayley@berkshirehorseworks.com or (310) 488-9777

 

Social Justice Seminar

Posted on: January 18th, 2018 by Hayley , No Comments

Our blogger, Genevieve, who has been an intern here went to Washington D.C.
Two weeks ago, I was able to travel to Washington D.C. for L’taken, a social justice seminar for Jewish teens from all over the nation. L’taken prepares teens to write and present a speech to Capitol Hill on a variety of topics. The weekend is structured to provide an introduction on many topics including LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, climate justice and Israel. Once a topic is chosen, teens work with other teens from their congregation and legislative assistants from the RAC to write their speeches. This event was hosted by the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. The RAC “mobilizes around federal, state, and local legislation; supports and develops congregational leaders; and organizes communities to create a world overflowing with justice, compassion, and peace.”

Each program was lead by a legislative assistant that specialized in that particular topic, so the programs were focused, interesting and fun. I learned so much about each topic, while having fun and meeting people from all over the nation. I chose to write and talk about climate justice, specifically, fighting for renewable energy to become more popular and fossil fuels to stay in the ground, for our meetings on Capitol Hill on Monday. Attending this event opened my eyes to another interest, tikum olam, or repairing the world.

The torah tells us “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). One of the most important jewish values is standing up for what you believe in. I hope to live out this value for the rest of my life, especially as I head off to college next year. I will be attending Mount Holyoke College in the fall, where the students are encouraged to be politically active and fight for what they believe in. I am planning to join clubs that align with my beliefs and stay politically active, especially in the current political climate. The biggest take away from this seminar was the importance of being politically active and reminding your representatives what their constituents want from them.

Motivation

Posted on: November 9th, 2017 by Hayley , No Comments

I was sitting here with the horses where I am interning ( I am a senior and live in the Berkshires) and thinking about how to not get derailed from my daily life and responsibilities as all of these traumatic events swirl around. If any of you are feeling lost, depressed or not motivated, just consider these thoughts. According to a recent report from the Center for Motivation and Change, people should show self-compassion and patience to bounce back. The horrible tragedies happening in the world impact me daily, but I still manage to find a way to keep my head and grades up. It can be hard to find the motivation to focus on school, but with some practice, motivation comes easier. To focus and get motivated I turn inward and try to become my best self while also seeing support from friends. Often, I plan out my afternoon with time for breaks, so I don’t become burned out with work. When I finish a goal, I take a break and reward myself with a yummy snack, because while it is important to push yourself, it is crucial to know when to stop and take some time for self care. Balance is key. I also ask my friends to encourage me to get my school work done and we form study groups to keep ourselves on track. I find it easier to study for the same test with a group of my friends, than by myself because we can quiz each other. By using these methods, I have been able to focus on my school work and not become derailed by the news. Just thought I would share ……Genevieve

Mental Health Day

Posted on: October 18th, 2017 by Hayley , No Comments

Although National Mental Health Day was honored last week, I found something that I believe is worth sharing especially given our current political climate with North Korea and China.
According to a study cited in a column in The Huffington Post entitled “A New Generation Of Therapists Is Fighting Asian-American Mental Health Stigma,” “Many Asian immigrants come from cultures that do not see mental illness as a legitimate illness.” They tend to wait until it is hard to recover before getting help. For those who do, they often do not stay for extended periods potentially because of a language barrier. There are communities of therapists who are actively trying to reduce the stigma around getting help. They host public workshops, health camps and community outreach programs in areas most affected by these issues. Mental health professionals are trying to encourage families to not hide their issues from each other and to not be as ashamed of common illnesses. They are also trying to hire more therapists who are native speakers, to augment the efficacy of treatment and diminish the chance for miscommunication between patient and therapist. The political posturing which has nothing to do with one’s nationality will hopefully not further stigmatize the Asians in this country. I hope they as with everyone receive they need. -Genevieve Franck

Posted on: October 17th, 2017 by Hayley , No Comments

This is one of our donkeys, Rodeo, making an entrance at Third Thursday in Pittsfield last month.

Rodeo Makes an Entrance

Posted on: October 4th, 2017 by Hayley , No Comments

A great new addition to our team, is a 17 year girl named Genevieve. She is an intern as part of her senior year at Mounument Mountain High School in Great Barrington Mass and will be posting twice a week about current events around the world and her relationship with horses. We encourage to follow her work as she is an honest, open, strong, individual who has a lot to share. Here is Genevieve’s first blog:

While volunteering at Berkshire HorseWorks, I learn a lot about myself as I strengthen my connection with the horses. They teach me patience, compassion and empathy, as I ask them to work with me while lunging or even ridding. Horses also help me through some tougher times, so it feels really good to be able to give back time and attention. When I need someone to listen to me without judgment, I talk to the horses and it seems like they understand and give me their full attention. Even while grooming, filling water buckets or feeding them, I let them work their magic, making me calmer and more centered. Every time I come to the barn, I face a new challenge; sometimes it’s motivating the horses to exercise or learning a new way to care for an ailment. I leave feeling happy because of the new skills I learn and the older ones that I work toward mastering.

Volunteering here, is opening my eyes to a slightly different version of the career path I want to follow. I thought that I was going to run a barn and give riding lessons, but now I realize that I want to do more than that, I want to give back to the community through similar programs, as well as give the opportunity to the community to experience the same kind of love from these beautiful animals.
#volunteering #eagala #horselove #girlsrule #teens #givingback #intheberkshires