Pegasus Therapeutic Riding in Brewster NY is honored to launch a program for First Responders and Front Line Workers in partnership with The Mental Health Association in Putnam County and Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services.
First responders and Front Line Workers have an immense impact on the communities. We also know from first-hand experience the impact that secondary trauma can have, and that burnout is a reality that many face. We believe that learning the art and skill of self-regulation, understanding how to make distinctions among seemingly conflicting emotions and building the capacity to process ‘the day’ before coming home are all part of maintaining healthy relationships — and all part of ensuring top performance when police, firefighters or EMT’s need it most.
This program uses horses and highly trained facilitators, deals with social-emotional growth and trauma in people of all ages and circumstances. Through the restorative powers of the horse, participants are able to discover their own strength and healing through the experiential learning this program has to offer. Didactic elements of recognizing emotions and working towards emotional agility help participants manage their emotions in a positive and healthy way. All this is done through what we call “The Wisdom of the Prey” and connection with our equine partners. Our goal is that each individual leaves this program with a renewed sense of self-worth, well-being, and empowerment. We have seen tremendous results with this program serving our veteran population, as well as crime victims and at-risk youth.
Research shows that Equine-Assisted Therapy is effective in helping individuals experiencing depression, anxiety, and/or trauma-related symptoms. In studies, we have seen an increase in emotional regulation, and resourcefulness as a result of Equine-Assisted Therapy. Studies show that animal-assisted therapy reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. In addition, spending time with horses lowers blood pressure and it increases the release of oxytocin, a natural chemical that promotes feelings of positivity and connection.
This program is offered at no cost to our participants and is supported fully by our fundraising efforts.