About Equine Assisted Growth and Learning
and the T.A.I.L.S. Program
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) involves working with horses for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist, a horse professional and the horses working with the clients. In this form of therapy, participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This approach has been compared to ropes courses, but EAL has the added advantage of utilizing horses, dynamic and powerful living beings.
Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity to overcome fear and develop confidence.
Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. They have defined roles within their herds.
They would rather be with their peers.
They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods.
An approach that seems to work with one horse does not necessarily work with another.
At times, they seem stubborn and defiant.
They also like to have fun, just as we do.
In other words, horses provide wonderful metaphors for dealing with intimidating and challenging situations in life. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.
Who Can Benefit from EAL?
The focus of EAL is not riding or horsemanship. EAL involves setting up activities involving the horses that can be performed from the ground. These activities require the client or group to apply certain skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, work, taking responsibility, teamwork and relationships, confidence, and attitude are several examples of the tools utilized and developed by EAL. EAL is a powerful and effective approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups.
Who we are:
Maureen Farley Waff has been assisted by her animal friends (dogs and horses) in her professional and volunteer capacity since 2003. She always works in concert with a licensed mental health professional.
She has been certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) since 2008. She firmly believes in certification to lend credence and accountability to the practice of equine assisted growth and learning. She was certified as a chemical dependency counselor in 1996, and trained as a prevention specialist by the Oregon Department of Health & Human Services in 2006/2007.
Maureen Farley Waff
How does it Work?
At T.A.I.L.S., we use the EAGALA model of equine assisted growth and learning. The EAGALA model incorporates the following:
Team Approach – An Equine Specialist, a Mental Health professional, and horses work together with clients in all EAGALA sessions.
Focus on the Ground – No horseback riding is involved. Instead, effective and deliberate techniques are utilized where the horses are metaphors in specific ground-based experiences.
Solution-Oriented – The basis of the EAGALA Model is a belief that all clients have the best solutions for themselves when given the opportunity to discover them. Rather than instructing or directing solutions, we allow our clients to experiment, problem-solve, take risks, employ creativity, and find their own solutions that work best for them.
Code of Ethics - EAGALA has high standards of practice and ethics and an ethics committee and protocol for upholding these standards, ensuring best practices and the highest level of care.