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FROM: Berkshire HorseWorks LLC, EAGALA Certified Program
CONTACT: Hayley Sumner, Hayley@berkshirehorseworks.com, (413) 698-3700


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BERKSHIRE HORSEWORKS TO ENCOURAGE LOCAL BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, AGENCIES TO TEAM BUILD WITH HORSES AT INTERACTIVE DEMO TUESDAY, APRIL 22 AT BERKSHIRE EQUESTRIAN CENTER

FOR EACH ORGANIZATION WHICH “PONIES UP” FOR STAFF DEVELOPMENT BERKSHIRE HORSEWORKS WILL DONATE AN EQUINE ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY SESSION TO AN AT RISK YOUTH AND FAMILY IN THE COMMUNITY


Richmond, MA, APRIL 14, 2014— In an effort to further support community at risk youth and their families by providing EAGALA Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), Berkshire HorseWorks is reaching out to local organizations to invest in their own staff’s development by signing up for a half or full day team building workshop by June 1st. In turn, BHW will donate sessions to identified at risk youth and/or their families free of charge. The initiative will formally be announced at an interactive demonstration on Tuesday, April 22nd, from 4:30 – 7pm at the Berkshire Equestrian Center in Richmond (40 Perry’s Peak Road, off route 41). The demo will focus on personal development and team dynamics in the workplace and how EAP can be a highly effective tool for corporate team building. Egremont resident, cancer survivor and EAGALA Certified Practitioner Hayley Sumner introduced this experiential modality of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Learning (EAL) to the Berkshires last June when she and her team opened shop.

The Model has a diverse application from helping in the healing process of the children, families and first responders affected by the Newtown tragedy, to assisting military personnel and vets with PTSD reintegrate into society, to cultivating empathy in Fortune 500 companies, to motivating a corporation’s sales force to teaching anti-bullying techniques in schools.

“My hope when starting this business was to be able to help organizations and our community concurrently. If we can offer a new way for businesses to invest in their workforce by using horses to honestly examine team dynamics, facilitate effective communication, increase problem solving skills and encourage creative thinking then that will lead to more productive and healthier relationships outside of the workplace,” said Sumner, Founder and Executive Director of Berkshire HorseWorks.

Clients have ranged from Fox Sports, Berkshire Functional Fitness and the Seekonk Tree Company to Hillcrest Educational Center, John Dewey Academy and the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department. Because Equine Assisted Learning is so effective, it is considered a rapid approach to building life skills.

“I attended a recent team building session and had no idea what to expect. After just an hour and a half I came away with valuable information usable in everyday life. First and foremost, I don’t listen very well!! I hear fine but don’t focus on what is being said. Where I didn’t comprehend the initial instructions others did. So as a team, being able to combine all of our individual strengths and solve the task was powerful and more efficient. I highly recommend taking a session,” said Peter Sweet, Jr., Owner Seekonk Tree Farm.

“The HorseWorks experience awoke me to the realization that I am so intimidated by instructions issued by an “authority figure” that I will blindly follow those instructions to the letter, as if I were still the “good little girl” who never challenged the expected response. To have reacted this way at this time flew directly in the face of who I am today … an individual who explores every possible means to an end, extended to very out-of-the-box solutions. As a result, I am determined to diminish my tendency to demur without significant, informed thought and, instead, act on my proven ability to intelligently question and act beyond the expected, even at the risk of being “wrong”, shared Carol Robins, Former Director of Volunteer Resources, Lighthouse International.

Horses are innately sensitive and open. Interaction with them serves as a mirror of emotions and behavior, thus helping individuals, couples, and groups discover positive solutions to real-life challenges. Participants are empowered by the lessons learned in the arena and translate that energy, attitude, and behavior when they return to the workplace, the family or school. Recent group workshops have included:

  • Defining how employees can work as a team toward a common goal such as increased productivity or landing a new client.
  • Working with staff to enhance communication and adapt to a company’s new management initiatives.
  • Helping struggling students deal with bullying at school or issues at home.
  • Navigating cultural differences in a government agency.

Having run a public relations company for more than 20 years, Sumner recognized the importance of investing in and supporting her associates in their personal development. “We would go on rafting trips to Costa Rica to help us all develop a sense of trust and teamwork. They became great leaders and listeners. Had I known about horses at that time I might have traded in the rafts for hooves. We can work on just about anything in the arena that one would do in boardroom trainings. Bringing it to life allows for hands on metaphorical learning that is very powerful for staff development employee retention and overall wellness,” states Sumner.

Unlike therapeutic riding where a client is mounted on a horse, EAGALA Model EAP and EAL sessions take place on the ground, are facilitated by both a Licensed Mental Health Professional and a qualified Equine Specialist, are solution-oriented. Horse therapy or EAP can be used as both an adjunct or alternative to talk therapy. Horses often break through the barriers that in more traditional modes can stall people. EAGALA Certified professionals work with a broad spectrum of behavioral/mental health issues and learning goals including ADHD, autism, depression, addiction, eating disorders, couples therapy, stress management, recidivism, teamwork, sexual abuse, leadership skills and trauma-related disorders. Donated sessions to the families and youth will focus on these treatment goals as needed.

“The Berkshires are a very healing community. I am hoping the EAGALA programs at Berkshire HorseWorks will augment in a new way, the wellness and vitality of our population both individually and in the workplace – arming all with the tools to cope, heal, compete, communicate and thrive in today’s stressful world. BHW will offer not only EAP and EAL sessions for individuals, couples, veterans, and groups, but also tailored workshops and retreats for corporations, agencies, and school districts. The goal is to collaborate with existing initiatives so as to maximize impact and reach,” explained Sumner.

EAGALA is a nonprofit organization developed in 1999 to address the need for resources, education and professionalism in the fields of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning. The association has set the standard for professional excellence in how horses and humans work together to improve the quality of life and mental health of individuals, families and groups worldwide. In partnership with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), EAGALA provides an opportunity for a second career for horses retired from racing. EAGALA has more than 4000 members in 49 countries and continues to grow. For more information on EAGALA go to www.eagala.org.

Visit www.berkshirehorseworks.com for more information OR call 310 488 9777 TO RSVP