The EAGALA model of Equine Assisted Learning has helped thousands of children and adults around the world deal with emotional issues, anger management, coping skills and social interaction. Ethan Vaughn’s story in the Courier-Journal last week was just another reminder to all of us at Berkshire HorseWorks what seeming miracles can come from the horse/human collaboration. Families who had all but lost hope find solace and reassurance when they discover EAL and EAP. The photo below is from a session at Berkshire HorseWorks and is not related to Ethan Vaughn.
Jenna Esarey • The Courier-Journal • April 9, 2014 – Last year, Ethan Vaughn’s angry outbursts and struggles with ADHD were getting out of hand. The Charlestown third-grader was having trouble focusing and controlling his behavior in school.
“He’s always had hyperactivity, but things had gotten a lot worse. He was having trouble with anger,” said his mother, Kerri Vaughn.
That was until the family found out about Jeffersonville’s nonprofit horse therapy group, Opening Gates Inc., that offers equine-assisted counseling and learning programs using its 19 horses.
“I had heard about therapy horses, but I had no idea we had any in the area,” Vaughn said.
Ethan, 9, was paired with Bear, an abused animal rescued by therapist Shara Wiesenauer, the founder of Opening Gates. “He’s 27. That would be 81 if he was a person,” she said.
Imported from Ireland, Bear was a competitor at the grand prix level in dressage and was a jumper. “We found him six years ago at an animal rescue,” Wiesenauer said. “He was not in good shape. He had been abandoned at a slaughter auction. This animal that was once deemed of no use now serves a wonderful purpose.”
Ethan worked to control his outbursts to avoid upsetting Bear. After working with Bear once a week for 12 weeks, Ethan made great strides. “He’s just learned so much more from this than I could have asked,” Vaughn said. “It has been a godsend.”
Jenna Esarey’s entire article is available at The Courier-Journal.