Two California prisons have partnered with a nonprofit equine therapy organization to offer a unique experience to incarcerated people, many of whom have never been around horses before.
New Beginnings at Circle T Ranch, located in Lemoore, brought horses on-grounds at Valley State Prison (VSP) and California State Prison-Corcoran (COR) recently to offer an Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) workshop. New Beginnings provides horses, equipment, and trainers with a wealth of equestrian experience to share the healing powers of the gentle giants.
EAL uses the horses as catalysts for a therapeutic approach to emotional growth, learning, healing, and wellness. Incarcerated people and staff are able to interact with the horses through gentle touch, walking them on a lead, or simply standing near them.
“A horse’s heart weights 10 to 12 pounds,” shared Denise Taylor, owner of Circle T Ranch. “It emits an electromagnetic field that goes 4 feet away from the horse’s body, and our heart rate will match that of the horse. And we calm down. It controls anxiety and stress.”
“The horses accept the people here,” Taylor added. “They are nonjudgmental, they want to be their friends.”
EAL is offered in the community to assist helps with chronic psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, trauma exposure and more. The VSP and COR EAL workshops occur in a six-hour session and each attendee receives a certificate for participating.
For more information on New Beginnings at Circle T Ranch, visit https://www.ilovecircletranch.com/home-1. As a registered nonprofit, the organization can also be supported via donations made through voluntary payroll deductions as part of Our Promise: California State Employees Giving Back at Work. Visit Cal Employee Connect to access the donor portal.