In 2011, I attended my first EAGALA Part I training. I went on a whim, curious to learn more about how horses were helping people with different emotional growth and learning goals. As we went around the circle introducing ourselves, I suddenly felt wildly out of place. Seemingly, everyone was there with specific professional intentions – many already involved in an EAGALA Model ® business of some kind. I was just there out of curiosity! Did I belong? Despite my insecurities, I had such a profound personal growth experience at the training, that I knew this was my life’s work. But, now what?
I finished my certification training in 2011. In 2012, I formed my company, Divinely Equine LLC. Like many beginning their EAGALA career, I struggled finding the other half of my team. Very few people, institutions, businesses, or organizations had ever heard of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning. I didn’t have a farm or even a horse for that matter. Many potential clients were curious about the nature of “the work,” but were road-blocked by issues such as liability, money, and transportation.
Over the last four years, I have engaged in a process of building a foundation for my business. This process has been extraordinary in the many challenges and successes I have navigated. In 2015, while facilitating an EAGALA Model team building experience, I was encouraged to start a nonprofit by my clients. While I knew my heart was always in providing services to those in need (over the years, often, at my own expense), I admittedly knew very little about developing and running nonprofit organizations.
Thankfully, I was connected to several people who were skilled in the nonprofit sector, and helped me
navigate the process. I made the decision to split Divinely Equine into two distinct organizations:
Gateway HorseWorks, a 501(c)(3) public charity offering transformational Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to children, adults, and families in a healing, farm-based environment, and WorkHorse, an Equine Assisted Professional Development firm serving the organizational needs of teams who aspire to bring new levels of collaboration, innovation, and creativity to the workplace. Both businesses continue to grow and develop as the awareness and efficacy of Equine Assisted Growth & Learning is recognized in our communities and worldwide.