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EAGALA EME News - February 2014

Coral HarrisonCoral Harrison EAGALA’s Regional Coordinator for Europe & Middle East

Welcome to our 3rd edition of the EME newsletter. Here we are at the begining of 2014 already, where does the time go! We hope that you all had a lovely Xmas. It is exciting times for EAGALA with the development of partnerships with Zahala & Covenant House (see Lynn Thomas’s email to members). I think we are seeing a global change in the recognition of the EAGALA model as an effective approach. I am also hearing lots of good news from members in the EME about how their programs are developing. Please remember to share your news, events and practice questions so that we can include you in our newsletter.

We have 17 networking groups in EME region and I know these provide valuable support to our members. I so enjoy supporting our dedicated team of NW Group Coordinators and want to thank them for all for their support of EAGALA.

Funding News - Through collaborating with other members I discovered that there is European Funding available to businesses who want to set up as a social enterprise (non-profit). I contacted my local Chamber of Commerce to find out more. After my first meeting with a business advisor I decided I wanted to join forces with some of my EAGALA colleagues. I am now working with four EAGALA programs to set up a Cooperative Consortium with a trauma focus. As a group we get 12 hours of business support to help us set up. Once established we will be able to apply for funding as a consortium. At our second meeting we agreed our legal structure and objectives. I met again with our advisor this week to complete the official paperwork. It is so exciting to be making plans with EAGALA certified colleagues. In our group we have 3 MHP’s & 2 ES’s, 3 venues with horses and a wealth of expertise. I will let you know how this is going in our next newsletter. I encourage all of you who are interested to contact your local business support service to find out more.

Members Survey – EAGALA will be sending out a survey in February. This will help us to gain a picture of how many EAGALA model sessions are being offered worldwide, please do complete this. The results are useful in showing the range of client issues we are working with & numbers of hours. In 2012 the results showed:-

  • 35,143 clients served
  • 63,134 hours provided
  • 3,843 horses involved

Pre & Post Evaluation of EAGALA Model sessions – evaluating the effectiveness of our work is vitally important and needs to be part of our professional This issue is raised frequently at Network Group meetings. We would really like to know what you currently use email Coral

EAGALA Research Resources - check out this link which lists a range of resources put together by the EAGALA research committee Single subject research design is one. Main one to look at is the bibliography of measurement tools provides education and listing of possible pre/post-test measurement tools members can look into.

I hope that you enjoy reading this newsletter. As a team we want to wish you all the very best for 2014.

Warmest wishes

Coral, Felicia & Jo Anne

Louise Gillard-OwenReflections on the Labyrinth - one person’s experience within a group activity.

I took part in ‘The Labyrinth’ an EAL/P activity, designed by Claire Misson during the inaugural meeting of the EAGALA Midlands UK Networking Group, (see August 2013 EME newsletter for details). To put this into context, our morning preceding the Labyrinth needs a mention. We had worked with a small herd of four horses on a group activity to explore how our own, very new group might develop and progress. This involved us asking the horses to follow us on a (very) loosely planned journey through the paddocks. We didn’t know where our group was headed at this point. Our meanderings provided us with a rich seam of material as the horses demonstrated their own herd dynamics, revealing our individual responses to their behaviour and as a result, the decisions we came to as a group. Metaphor and humour were present in abundance!

We had a working lunch and discussion continued about our perceptions of the activity and how the horses may have experienced it. This led us to question how we ensure that the horses are given the opportunity to process, in their own unique way, what they have just experienced in our sessions. In preparation for the Labyrinth activity in the afternoon we were asked to agree on a question that we wanted an answer to as a group. We decided to ask what the equine team needed from us?

As we started the Labyrinth the pony was eating grass at the bottom of the arena. We discussed how we were going to get the pony to accompany us on our journey, whether to use a head collar and lead rope, a scarf or no equipment at all. It became clear quite quickly that this pony was extremely interested in the grass and not so very interested in joining us. This led to several attempts to make contact with him resulting in ears being laid back, attempted nipping and his bottom being turned quickly and expertly towards us - a pattern. A few of us made contact through slow and careful approach and retreat, eventually being allowed to scratch his withers as he relaxed, but as soon as any equipment was shown the bottom was assertively presented. We decided to check in as a group to talk about what we wanted to do next. Lots of‘ S’s came up - my own being a perception that this pony was experiencing stress and wanting to relieve it. Two of us felt that we had received an answer to our question ‘Let me be myself/ don’t pressure me/give me the space and time I need and it’ll be ok’.

Others in the group felt that they didn’t yet have their answer and so we agreed, as a group, to continue with the activity. There was a unique moment when one of our group approached the pony and made contact with his nose (this contact appeared almost electrically charged), he allowed himself to be haltered and led. This resulted in conflicting feelings for me - a tension around possibly imposing something on the pony that he couldn’t argue with, and a sense of achievement in terms of being able to walk the Labyrinth with him and the group with the opportunity to learn more. The walk through to the centre was very quiet and once there the whole group stood around the pony in silence.
We continued back from the centre to the mouth, again silently, and reflected on the answers we had got to our question individually.

I experienced this activity as totally engaging, thought provoking and emotive. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on how effective, supportive groups use give each other time, space and opportunity to do what they need to do. To me, this activity felt like a vibrant, stimulating, active and mutually respectful process full of possibilities. Thank you to the group that I was part of AND to the pony that I will always know as Bottom!

I will be using the Labyrinth in practice with my co-facilitators with individual service users and groups and also recommend that, as facilitators, we try it ourselves too.

Louise Gillard-Owen, Real Re: Action Community Interest Company, UK.


Eco Therapy conferenceEco Therapy conference

In September, Penny Bond (ES) and I ran EAP/EAL workshops at the West Wales Action for Mental Health (WWAMH) Eco therapy conference. The workshops went very well indeed, I even had a live Radio Wales interview. Out of everyone there I was the only therapist to be given the opportunity; nevertheless there was a downside – that of getting at 6am.

We received some great feedback from the sessions, one from a project leader who works with Veterans suffering from PTSD “I have learned more about myself in just a few minutes with you and the horses than in 51 years!” She intends to keep in touch with us, wanting to spend a recent £200,000 grant in the most effective way. Needless to say I think we can help!

As an Adlerian psychotherapist I do not do role-play; in retrospect neither do the horses, so every client's movement from felt minus to felt plus was a great and real reward. Morning activities consisted of self-awareness, personal development and team building. Observing the afternoon sessions and being amazed by the rapid, positive and incredibly safe impact of EAP on a client with self-esteem and anxiety issues (and suggesting additional applications for what she had witnessed) was a former Chief Medical Officer for Wales, who is a current UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) board member. Impressed by the professionalism of the EAGALA model where several delegates were well-meaning contributors to others' wellbeing with one "Eco psychologist" having had no formal training or accountability, the CMO was keen to receive more information about what I tend to call “metaphor on four legs”. I was more than happy to send her an article about EAP from an Adlerian perspective, which I had submitted for the Institute for Individual Psychology yearbook.

Eco Therapy conference 2Connections have also been made with the conference main speaker from the School of Biological Science Essex University, who shared findings from research into the impact of Eco therapy on wellbeing. It was good to share ideas since with colleagues at the Adlerian Society of Wales I am currently working on developing a simple but precise framework to evaluate our clients’ progress and generate meaningful data. We also received positive feedback from a local newspaper from whom the columnist was our first volunteer client and now knows from prior experience that EAP really works. It was particularly gratifying to find that one of the WWAMH development workers has become so enthused by EAGALA that she may well train as an ES herself.
It probably goes without saying, but it was marvelous for me to work with Penny who set up such appropriate activities and fed back such sharp observations that the lines of enquiry and hypotheses simply jumped out at me, and the clients responded fittingly.

Martyn Williams

EAL with childrenA Recipe for Fun and Learning – ‘Children, Horses, Rain and Mud’

Storms, rain and wind did not prevent our 3 x EAL Workshops for the 21 children that had booked to attend during the school half term in October.

All wrapped up in layers of clothing and wellington boots the children focused on the activities and enjoyed the opportunity to work with horses exploring how to develop relationships, old and new, build upon their self confidence and assertiveness skills whilst in a relaxed, non threatening and safe environment.

One young chap (6 years old) fell over numerous times, yet on each occasion picked himself up with the cheekiest grin on his face. At the end of that day when asked what he had enjoyed the most, he replied, ‘falling in the mud and being with the horses,’ – A possible insight into how he manages ‘falling’ in everyday life? – such spirit and determination.

Activity Day 1
Activity: As a Team build a path agreed by all. Once your path is ready and working as a group, chose a horse and together lead it with no lead ropes or food to bribe it through your path.
Result: After much talking, disagreeing, negotiating, and changing of horses all those involved were happy with their end result.

Activity Day 2
Activity: As a Team build a path placing two agreed obstacles. Once your path is ready and again working as a group, chose a horse and lead it with no lead ropes or food for bribing.
Result: After much talking, disagreeing, negotiating and changes all those involved were happy with the end result.

Activity Day 3
Activity: As a Team build an area, which is unsafe/bad and a place, which is safe/good. Once you have done this choose a horse and place it in the unsafe/bad place and observe what happens. After the horse has been there for a minute move your horse to the good/safe place.
Result: The children’s unsafe/bad place had no exit, barriers all around, and for the safe/good place there were no barriers, food and water enabling horses to leave and enter on their own.

After lunch the children spent time with the horses unreservedly; it was amazing to watch them interact and naming the horses so differently. Names such as: ‘Princess, Baby, Twinkle, Trouble, Red Anger, Bully,’ were given. As the horse’s owner my S’s, were certainly triggered 

Thank You Sophie (ES), the activities chosen were effective and enabled the children, Horses and Us to freely participate and enjoy the experience. Pictures were taken, however parents authorised use on Butterflies website only:

Our workshop in December has a ‘Seasonal Theme,’ and is almost fully booked.

Butterflies’ receives referrals from Schools, Social Services, Self Referrals, GP’s and other local agencies that are working with children. Currently we are not funded, therefore Agencies referring meet the costs and self-referrals pay a contribution.

Sophie and I are a relatively new Facilitating Team, in the early stages of developing our working relationship; these workshops enabled us to continue with our growth as a cohesive facilitating team.

Deborah Cullen, MH. Butterflies Equine, Battle, East Sussex.




I think in today’s society it has become apparent that these ‘no win no fee’ insurance claims frighten everyone. Unfortunately people are quick to push accidents in the hope they get a few thousand pounds compensation, which for an innocent livery yard owner or the occasional practicing therapist could be the means to an end.

Horses for Causes is a hack centre, it also provides EAP/EAT/EAL sessions, recently taking on voluntary helpers; thought it has other EAGALA members using their premises and their horses. The people they serve through workshops are young, old and some vulnerable –by now any insurance company would be rubbing their hands together and tallying up those pound signs.

With this initial query of insurance relevant paperwork and documentation to back everything else up needs to be considered. Such as certification to deliver everything, local authority licenses, independent vet inspection, health and safety policies, first aiders, child protection policies, vulnerable adult policies and CRB checks on all staff and volunteers.

Then we have horse and building insurance; our horses are important so we want to make sure that we have covered everything that might just happen. If your horse does get loose, causes damage to the lovely vegetable garden situated next door to your pasture and you have no public liability insurance, again people will be quick to cash in on this. We intend the best for our herd hence each one is covered by vetinary bills and god forbid loss of animal.

Here at Horses for Causes we use two different insurance companies South Essex Insurance Brokers, which is the business side, they provide a combined equestrian policy, if I have a query they are quick to respond and adjust. NFU provide horse and building insurance, they did not want to entertain the thought of combining everything however before Horses for Causes, any horse we have had has been insured through NFU; again quick to respond and adjust and even pay quite quickly when we have made a claim. But like any other insurance your premium does go up.

Anyone like to guess on what we pay yearly?

Sharon Wood. Horses for Causes.


Request for Insurance companies and details outside of the UK:

In the next Newsletter there will be a small synopsis on a few of the well-known insurance companies that seem to cover EAP/EAL/EAT sessions, however these will be UK based. I would really like to include insurance information from other Countries within Europe so please email me for what this may include or for more details Jo-Anne Carlsson Email:


EAGALA International Research Project

I have exciting news for members. I know it is a frequent conversation at Networking Groups & in connection with accessing funding the need to have evidenced based practice for EAGALA model EAP/L. Thanks to Ruth Billany CPsychol, AFBPsS (research active academic at Charles Darwin University, Australia) and Naomi Rossthorn (EAGALA PACIFIC research convenor), EAGALA members will soon be able to register & take part in a research project.

Proposed output: The researchers will collate data for different age groups and presenting issues across all registered EAGALA program sites. Comparative pre-to-post test measures will be analysed to determine the effectiveness of EAP. Registered programs will be informed of the outcomes.

If you choose to include the Scales of Psychological Wellbeing (SPWB) as a pre-to-post test measure, your client input will be assessed and you will be provided with client total score of the SPWB and the sum of each of the six scales (Autonomy, Environmental Mastery, Personal Growth, Positive Relations With Others, Purpose In Life, and Self-Acceptance).

How to register and more details will be coming out to all members in the next two weeks. Please register your programme as this will support not only your business and the recognition of EAGALA model services worldwide.

Coral Harrison, EAGALA EME Regional Coordinator


CPD Workshops for professionals working with trauma

Dates: 14th June & 7th Sept 2014 Kendal, Cumbria, UK, 5th July 2014 London, UK
Time: 10am – 5pm
Cost:  £75 early booking rate
Organisations Name: ChangeWays
Website for more information & to book:
Contact Name for more details: Coral Harrison
Contact Email:
Contact Telephone Number: 07766706066
Short Description: Gain an understanding of psychological trauma; the effects of trauma on the brain & bodies of traumatised people; experience how Equine Assisted Psychotherapy provides a powerful symbolic narrative through metaphor and experience; and how those new experiences support trauma resolution.

Details of EAGALA Approved Workshops

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Deadline for the 4th editon of EAGALA EME newsletter is set to the 31st of May.