HISTORY of the EQUINE ASSISTED ORGANIZATIONS
All of us begin our search for understanding the field of EAP/EAL trying to grasp what it is exactly. Perhaps reviewing the history of the different organizations will help you find your ‘fit.’ My history in the field actively began in 1998 when I went online to search for equine assisted psychotherapy and found three hits [today there are over eighty pages]. Two of them were Equine Services, the training organization Greg Kersten owned. One was a NARHA based link which eventually led to Boo McDaniel’s Horses and Healing conference. Thus I began my search. Additional information can be added by authorized representatives from each organization. There are other training programs available for equine assisted work. These are the organizations in rough chronological order:
EFMHA The Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association began as a subcommittee of NARHA in 1994 according to the chronological history at the EGEA site, and EFMHA was granted section status in 1996. Co-founder Boo McDaniel held Horses & Healing conferences at her Pony Farm in New Hampshire. Boo has written an article about the founding of EFMHA that was published by NARHA in their magazine. Contact NARHA for a copy of the article. Another co-founder, Barbara Rector, continues to train individuals through her Adventures in Awareness [AIA] programs.
EPONA Linda Kohanov established Epona Equestrian Services in 1997. Her Tao of Equus was published in 2001. Riding Between the Worlds was published in 2003. While not a membership organization like the other organizations, EPONA provides holistic and spiritual approaches to acquiring emotional fitness skills, including creativity workshops as well as an apprenticeship program.
EAGALA , the Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association, was formed in July 1999 out of the work begun by Greg Kersten and Lynn Thomas. Greg Kersten had begun, some years before, working with adjudicated youth near Washington, DC, rewarding them with visits to the horses when they met their requirements. Soon Kersten, a trained alcohol and drug counselor, developed a system of exercises that he took with him to Turn-About Ranch, a residential program in Utah, where he met Lynn Thomas, a wilderness guide, who was impressed with his results. Thomas then earned a social work degree before Eagala formed. Lanier Cordell was instrumental in logo creation and selection and the marketing of Eagala. In 1998 I was in touch via email with Lynn Thomas during the formation of Eagala as a non profit association, the selection of Board Members, and the assorted questions about non profit application. The first conference was held in Lubbock, TX, in 2000 with 100+- people in attendance. In 2002 a committee was formed to study the expansion of Equine Assisted Learning. In 2005, at the conference in Primm, NV, it was announced that Eagala would focus totally on equine assisted psychotherapy and not expand into equine assisted learning in order to establish standards and promote the Eagala model in the mental health field, which they have continued to do with the premier in January 2008 of their new magazine , Eagala in Practice. The 2007 Eagala statistical data can be found here.
OK CORRAL SERIES Greg Kersten established this EAP training organization after his disputed departure from Eagala in 2005. [See www.gregkersten.com for the continuing legal proceedings.] Kersten’s talent and creativity continue to benefit the equine assisted community. The OK Corral is currently training nationally and internationally, and the website lists over 500 members. Kersten offers a series of innovative seminar/workshops based on the different applications of EAP/EAL he has created. OK Corral publishes a newsletter called the Equine Assisted Networker that supplies current news and information for the equine assisted field. OK Corral GATHERINGS are held in different parts of the country as a one-day event for members and newcomers to learn new equine assisted exercises, add depth to their understanding of equine assisted philosophy in practice, and network with other equine assisted individuals.
EGEA After Eagala made the decision to focus on EAP, Ariana Strozzi established the Equine Guided Education Association in 2003 to promote equine guided education, a holistic model based on her program of Leadership&Horses and Somatic Coaching. A good chronological history of the field can be found at this site.
EAHAE The European Association for Horse Assisted Education was founded in 2004 by Gerhard Krebs.
E3A the Equine Experiential Education Association was founded July 2008 by a core group to provide resources for the implementation of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) programs by educators, coaches, Corporate and Professional Development trainers and other facilitators.
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