Training convention for equine therapy comes to Williamson Count - WKRN News 2

Training convention for equine therapy comes to Williamson County

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. -

A convention that helps train mental health experts to use horses in therapy is being held this weekend at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center.

EAGALA, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning, is the leading nonprofit agency for mental health workers who use horses for therapy.

"We involve horses to help people with emotional needs, mental health or any kind of life improvement," said EAGALA founder Lynn Thomas.

"They also have the ability to read our non-verbal messages and the next thing you know the horses start acting like other relationships in our life," she continued.

The program encourages and trains individuals who use, or plan to use, horses.

Trainer Heather Jeffrey told Nashville's News 2, "They are social animals so they have their own thing going which can mimic a lot of what's going on with people in social situations."

Horses are being used to help those with emotional needs, depression, family issues, grief, trauma, addictions and even couples going through a rough patch.

"As a couple, for instance, we may go out there, one horse may be acting just like one person, and other horse. And through the process, they can learn how to work better together," Thomas said.

EGALA was involved in offering therapeutic help to those affected by the recent school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Dave McFarren, a psychotherapist who made the trip to Williamson County from his home in West Virginia, said that often people respond better to horses.

"They can come into the arena and work with the horses and often have a big breakthrough that they wouldn't get just sitting in an office with their therapist or their counselor," McFarren explained.

To read more about this weekend's conference, visit EAGALA.org.

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