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Horse Sense Business Sense
6919 Meadows Town Road
Marshall, North Carolina 28753

Phone: (828) 683-7304
Fax: (828) 683-6281
E-mail: josie@horsesenseotc.com




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Horse Sense Business Sense helps professionals in the many fields of Equine Assisted Practices offer top-level programs in their communities through workshops/trainings, symposiums & conferences, consulting & immersion programs, curriculums, a working student program, and much more.

Over a decade ago, Horse Sense began the journey into becoming a top-notch EAP/EAL facility. We are eager to help other Therapeutic Horsemanship, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning programs make it, and make a difference, in their community.

Join the Herd! Learn how Working Together Works!

What's New at Business Sense?


Introducing the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship

Remember NARHA & EFMHA? Well, introducing PATH International, the new organization name of the folks formerly known as NARHA/EFMHA. This is just one of the many changes going on with the folks at PATH, and I'm delighted to have been invited to be a part of this restructuring in a small way.

Horse Sense & PATH have been crossing "paths" a lot lately, as Horse Sense has been in the process of expanding our program offerings (therapeutic riding is in our future before the end of 2011)! A few months ago I was invited to be a part of a committee for EFP at PATH, and have really enjoyed connecting with and sharing ideas with this amazing group of folks. Next I was asked to contribute a business section to the new Starting your own EFP practice book--which I happily did--and I'll be presenting this year at the PATH Int conference in Kentucky, both as part of the pre-conference and the regular conference! I really look forward to making many new friends and reconnecting with many I haven't seen in years. Hopefully you'll be among them! --Shannon

(Below is the formal press release announcement of the name change posted on www.horsechannel.com)

The organization formerly known as NARHA has taken on a new moniker to better describe its mission

The professional organization that promotes equine-assisted activities and therapies to improve the lives of people with disabilities has a new name: the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International.) Formerly NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association), PATH International better expresses the scope of the 42-year-old organization whose 6,300 therapy horses and 3,500 instructors serve 42,000 children and adults with physical, mental and psychological challenges at 800+ member centers around the world.

The PATH International board and members chose the term therapeutic horsemanship because it more accurately conveys the organization’s numerous disciplines. PATH International centers now offer equine-facilitated psychotherapy and learning, therapeutic carriage driving, interactive vaulting, hippotherapy, competition and programs for leadership, team building and stable management.

Therapeutic horsemanship also encompasses a wider spectrum of disabilities and needs that a skilled therapy horse and certified instructor can address to help clients improve their cognitive, emotional, social and/or behavior skills. In addition to many physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, paralysis, stroke and traumatic brain injury, PATH International centers work with those with autism, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression and have targeted programs to help at-risk teens, injured veterans and military personnel, seniors with Alzheimer’s and victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

By incorporating the terms international and professional in its new name, PATH International reflects its global growth, as the association now has members on all continents except Antarctica. Individual and center members in countries from Brazil, Spain and the Netherlands to Israel, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and China continue to join PATH International for its excellent certification and accreditation programs and reputation for high-quality safety standards.

The professionalism of PATH International programs is matched by the expertise of its 8,000 members, half of whom are certified as PATH International instructors. Some members are also physical, occupational, speech language pathology or mental health therapists; others work closely with health practitioners to benefit their clients. Many centers partner with hospitals, schools, the Veterans Administration and rehabilitation, residential and adult day care centers.

The association’s tagline best expresses the work that its centers, staff, volunteers, equines and donors accomplish: Ensuring excellence and changing lives through equine-assisted activities and therapies. For more information, high-resolution images or to find a center near you, visit www.pathintl.org.

As a global authority, resource and advocate for the equine-assisted activities and therapies industry since 1969, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International) creates, maintains and improves quality and safety standards for the industry. At more than 800 member centers worldwide, over 42,000 children and adults find a sense of independence through involvement with horses. In addition to therapeutic riding, a center may offer any number of equine-assisted activities including hippotherapy, equine-facilitated mental health, driving, interactive vaulting, trail riding, competition, ground work or stable management. More than 30,000 volunteers, 3,500 instructors, 6,300 therapy horses and thousands of contributors from all over the world help people at PATH International member centers.


Our "Outside the Box" Thinking is "In the Box"

By now you have probably heard the story of how our work with a particularly challenging group of teen boys from a detention center encouraged us to "think outside the box" to help them work through some of their deeply troubled issues. We soon discovered that the techniques were beneficial for a whole range of people: youth, families, couples, etc. We decided to take that "Outside the Box" thinking and put it all together "Inside the Box" -- the box of Skill Cards, that is!

Our Skill Cards have been available for just a few months, and the feedback has been amazing. Because the Skill Cards are designed with a brief amount of text, you will be able to work with your client in a language that best suits them and/or their situation.

Generally, when we work with the Skill Cards, we have "fence time" before we go into the day's activity. During this time, we explore the card as we check-in by the fence before going into the arena or pasture with the horses. We ask each client to read the card in the order in which the information is presented: Title of Skill, Horse Fact and then Human Information.  We ask the client if s/he can relate to the card and if s/he can share a personal experence demonstrating what is described on the card.

Next, we ask the client to describe elements on the card in their own words, and to share any questions they have. This allows us to gauge how thoroughly the client understands the meaning of the card.  Typically, we focus on one card per session, often offering the client a selection of skills they can choose from for the day's session.

What makes this set of skill cards so valuable is that they are universally appropriate. Actually, when facilitating with these cards, you may well recognize that these skills are not just for your participants. They can remind you of your own areas for growth and development, and help you continue to improve as an EAP-L facilitator.

Want to learn more about our Skill Cards or ready to order Skill Cards? Super!  Learn more and/or place your order here



Horses Reaching Troubled Kids (PLUS, getting out of our own way to let the magic happen)

Horses and kids go together like oats and honey, right? I mean, there’s a reason that equine inspired children’s stories have persisted over the ages – The Black Stallion, anyone?

The young knight rides off to face danger on his strong steed, while the fair maiden dreams of her prince coming to save her astride a beautiful white mare. While horsey fairy tales are romanticized, there is no doubt that there exists a real connection between young people and horses. It’s one of the reasons that equine assisted therapy proves so effective when working with troubled teens and kids.

For us here at Horse Sense Business Sense (and I know for many, many of you reading this), utilizing horses to help us reach those youth is one of the major blessings of our work. You may say we’re passionate about horses and kids. Our industry is one that lets us make a real, lasting difference in the lives of the young clients we serve.

But. (And isn’t there always a but?)

There are myriad ways that your therapy business connects with clients – specifically young clients. There are just as many ways, in fact, as there are therapy modalities. While some follow Epona theories, others use therapeutic riding . Still others swear by natural horsemanship and traditional cognitive based therapies.

There are many paths.

Our communities can become insular. We each get all caught up in whatever theories or practices we are most comfortable with, that other ideas get eaten up, chewed to bits and spit out as false or less useful. It seems to be common in the horse industry in general, no? Dressage divas look down on western riders, jumpers think eventers are crazy and rodeo studs are the only “true” cowboys around.

What if we took off the blinders?
What if we took a good, hard look at the great work our colleagues are doing, and embraced the benefits and teachings of each tradition, bringing their lessons to our own work? Think how much MORE we could help those young clients of ours.

Well, if we want to encourage collaboration, there’s no place to start like our own back yards, right? SO, we’re doing just that.

We’re bringing together a group of some of the most insightful, experienced and highly regarded equine therapy professionals out there for our second annual Horses and At-Risk Youth Symposiumand we’d LOVE for you to join us!

It’s being held June 24 to 25, right here on the farm. We’re even throwing in a special pre-symposium workshop on the 23rd. There’s just too much good stuff to get into two days!

Here’s just a taste of who is coming and what we have planned:

  • Rupert Isaacson, founder of the Horse Boy Method, will be sharing the story of his own family, and how he found that horses make a profound difference in the lives of kids with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Linda and Don Zimmerman will be discussing eating disorders and equine assisted psychotherapy. Thousands of young women (and men) suffer from eating disorders across our country each year, and EAP can make a real, positive difference in helping them on the road to recovery.
  • Karen Frederick will look at how the equine assisted therapy industry can use solid research to demonstrate to a sometimes skeptical scientific community that horse therapy really does work. While we all know it’s true, it can be hard to argue EAP’s case without solid evidence – so let’s not sell ourselves short!

This is just a taste of all the good stuff we have planned. For the full program and registration information, visit horsesensebusiness.com/youth-symposium/.

And, most importantly, let’s all put aside our differences and come together for the good of our kids. They are so worth it.