Our Programs

The Pony Express targets Sonoma County youth between 12-18 years of age. We provide our services free of charge to over 100 at risk youth annually. Many of the kids in our programs come from foster care and the foster care system.

Having a sense of power and control over our actions and future is known as self-efficacy and is clearly linked to possessing a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Our programs provide a safe, non-judgmental learning environment for kids to develop self-worth and self-esteem. Through specific horse related exercises our program enhances kids’ ability to achieve the following outcomes in an authentic learning environment:

·       Build relationships based on trust, respect, communication, and team work

·       Make healthy choices and establish boundaries

·       Experience unconditional love through safe, healthy, and positive attachments

·       Stay present focused and engaged

·       Heal Trauma


for kids ages 12-18

Equine Assisted Skills for Youth- EASY is a life skill/leadership program for kids  ages 12-14 years of age that utilizes horses as guide and teacher. This program focuses on the importance of finding a connection and building a relationship through the connection with one’s equine partner. There is much research to support the use of horses as both teachers and healers of physical, emotional, and psychological trauma. Through the use of specific horse related exercises kids learn to build a relationship with their horses based on trust, respect, communication and team work. 

Equine Assisted Self-Efficacy or EASE is aimed at kids ages 15-18 years of age. Having a sense of power and control over one’s actions and future is known as self-efficacy and is clearly linked to having a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. EASE is designed to provide a safe, non-judgmental learning environment in which to build one’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem through specific horse related exercises. This program enhances one’s ability to make good choices, set healthy boundaries, improve communication necessary for both mental health and in raising self-efficacy.

An aim of both of our programs is to assist kids in the development of skills which encourage a sense of self-efficacy, self-esteem, and confidence gained from overcoming fears and challenges by participating in activities with horses. Relationships with horses also provide much opportunity for kids to experience healthy attachments and in doing so provide a healing role for kids by providing companionship, emotional support and an opportunity to experience unconditional love and affection. The goal is that these experiences can then be internalized and taken into their everyday lives. 


for couples

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Happy Couples & Horses, how horses can keep your relationship healthy

Did you ever think that you could improve your communication, connection, conflict resolution and your relationship with the help of horses?

Romantic relationships are important for our happiness and well-being. Yet with more than 40 percent of new marriages ending in divorce, it's clear that relationships aren't always easy. Research shows that one of the most common causes of failure in relationships points to a breakdown in communication. According to Mehrabian’s communication study; only 7% of what we say verbally with words actually communicates, 38% is based on tone of voice and 55% is communicated through body language. This is where we believe that horses can help couples to either establish or improve their communication and in doing so improve their relationship.

 Horses do make that extra difference. They are seven times more sensitive to body language and subtle energy than humans. Horses respond to subtleties in your body language, and it is the focus on the non-verbals that can be particularly revealing. We provide a safe environment where our horses can freely interact with and empower you to reflect on your own reactions, behaviors and limitations. Our goal is through the course of participating in specific exercises with horses we can help couples:

·      Foster closeness and affection

·      Resolve long standing conflicts in your relationship

·      Improve communication and connection in your relationship

·      Build trust, respect and team work

 

Check out our blog on Happy Couples & Horses here.


for sobriety

Adaptive Equine Therapy Program- This program is designed for men and women working through and towards their sobriety. Through specific horse related exercises AETP is designed to encourage participants to develop and maintain personal growth in the areas of trust, respect, communication, and teamwork. AETP provides relationship-building tools and personal empowerment/life skills found to be highly effective in helping those in need to heal from trauma and learn how to thrive in their relationships and personal lives. Individual or group rates vary and sponsorship is available for those who qualify.