Shiloh Stables uses the EAGALA model as their primary model of therapy.
What is EAGALA?
The EAGALA Model provides a standard and structure for providing Equine Assisted Therapy and Equine Assisted Learning sessions. Practicing within a model establishes a foundation of key values and beliefs, and provides a basis of good practice and professionalism. The EAGALA Model provides a framework of practice, but within that framework, there are infinite opportunities for creativity and adaptability to various therapeutic and facilitating styles.
The EAGALA Model
The Team Approach – An Equine Specialist, a Mental Health professional, and horses work together with clients in all EAGALA sessions.
Focus on the ground – No horseback riding is involved. Instead, effective and deliberate techniques are utilized where the horses are metaphors in specific ground-based experiences.
Solution-Oriented – The basis of the EAGALA Model is a belief that all clients have the best solutions for themselves when given the opportunity to discover them. Rather than instructing or directing solutions, we allow our clients to experiment, problem-solve, take risks, employ creativity, and find their own solutions that work best for them.
Code of Ethics - EAGALA has high standards of practice and ethics and an ethics committee and protocol for upholding these standards, ensuring best practices and the highest level of care.
The EAGALA Team
The Horse: Horses have many characteristics which lend them to being effective agents of change, including honesty, awareness, and ability with nonverbal communication. The role of the horses in an EAGALA session is to be themselves.
The Equine Specialist (ES): The ES chooses the horses to be used in sessions, works with the MH to structure sessions, keeps an equine log to document horse behaviors in sessions, stays aware of safety and welfare of clients, horses, and team, and makes observations of horse SPUD’s (an EAGALA-developed observation framework taught in the certification training program) which can bring in potential metaphors.
The Mental Health Professional (MH): The MH is responsible for treatment planning, documentation of clients, and ensuring ethical practice. The MH builds on the ES’s horse observations, bringing in the metaphoric and therapeutic/learning relevance of the session.
Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. Developing relationships, training, horsemanship instruction, and caring for horses naturally affects the people involved in a positive manner.
The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication, and healthy relationships has long been recognized. Horses naturally provide these benefits. The use of horses is growing and gaining popularity with the rise of Equine Assisted Therapy and Equine Assisted Learning.
We are often asked, "Why horses? Why not other animals?"
Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.
Like humans, horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning, an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.
Horses require us to work, whether in caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable lesson in all aspects of life.
Most importantly, horses mirror human body language. Many complain, "This horse is stubborn. That horse doesn't like me," etc. The lesson is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers
In this section we invite you to meet our staff and learn what makes horses so special for this type of work.
Shiloh Stables, LLC uses an Equine Specialist, Licensed Professional Counselor and horses. We have a beautiful facility complete with an outdoor and indoor arena to accommodate groups in most weather conditions. Our activities are both fun and challenging and all sessions are tailored to address your individual goals.
Meet our Staff
Peggy Hughes is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She holds a Masters of Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) and began counseling in 2002. She is the co-founder of Shiloh Stables as well as Genesis Christian Counseling. She is the author of the book "Getting to the Heart of your Child" and was the President of the Missouri Mental Health Counselor's Association (2009-2010). She co-owned her own private practice, Genesis Christian Counseling for many years.
Stephanie Read is the co-founder of Shiloh Stables and has over 20 years of horse experience. She has competed in numerous horse shows earning multiple championships. She is an equine specialist, riding instructor and teaches courses on equine behavior.
This video was created for our Horses for Hope program but is true for anyone suffering from trauma. To find out more about our Horses For Hope program please see our How To Help page