MoonRise Therapeutics
Compassionate Connection ~ Experiential Therapy Joyful Play
September 2021
Camps, Clinics, Programs, and more.

Summer & Fall at MoonRise welcomes numerous campers, clients, families, volunteers and clinicians to the farm. Together working alongside the therapy horses, people build connection and deepen capacity for relationships. 
MRT’s environment encourages participants to grow and learn in a non-judgmental atmosphere that cares for the well-being of each person, the animals and the earth.

MRT programs 2021 center on families, adolescence, veterans, individual horse connection sessions, and adult healing trauma groups. 
Each program invites participants into a calm space with the horses where they can begin to: 
- find their center and their courage
- take risks of self-reflection
- grow their capacity to communicate
- nurture their feelings of self- worth, compassion, and trust. 

We thank MRT horses and staff for their work! We thank all who support MRT with donations, grants, expertise, and countless hours of volunteer time. We are fortunate and grateful to have such an incredible growing community that we call the MRT family.
Strengthening Families
Sponsored by Vermont Children's Trust Foundation

~ families of any shape or size ~
MoonRise offers several Family Support Programs that are funded by a generous grant from the Vermont Children's Trust Foundation (VCTF).

Programs include:
  • Circle of Security (COS): an early intervention training program for caregivers, aiming towards stronger, more secure attachments for children and families.
  • MRT collaborated with the Dartmouth Trauma Interventions Research Center to support several MoonRise people in becoming facilitators of the COS Parent Training.
  • Family Days: Families of all shapes and sizes visit the farm, meet the horses, and get a taste of what we do.
  • Parent Support Components: Integrated with our youth horse connections sessions.
  • Play Groups: Hosted at MoonRise in collaboration with a regional Strenthening Families Committee out of Mount Ascutney Hospital. Groups are designed to allow for social connection among parents and young children.

VCTF values MoonRise's work in bringing together children, families, and adults with highly skilled clinical professionals and a herd of well-loved horses. The practice of integrating horses with mental health work creates a uniquely effective setting for healing and growth that VCTF felt compelled to support.
Horse Connections
Led by Ben Fox, LCMHC

The program focuses on increasing healthy connections to self and others through equine and expressive art therapy.

Some participant voices when asked, "Where do you feel the connection?":

"In my heart and their heart."

"I feel that they understand me more than humans do."

"I feel it in my hand and on their chest. And I found that another horse had a different place to connect with. Usually, people don't like it when I touch them, they (the horses) like it; they are happy and I am happy (this is new to me).'"
"I can talk to them, they listen."

"Sometimes I don’t like being around people but I always like being around the horses. It just feels good."

Parent voice:
"I notice my son is calmer and wants to go back to the barn every day to be with his horse."

Instructor voice:
"I think every parent just loved being in the MoonRise bubble. It showed in their eyes how much they wanted their boys to continue. Parents were passionately engaged in their child’s happiness during the activities. I'm sure if we asked parents to join us, they would have all jumped at the opportunity."
Horsemanship Clinic
Led by Heidi Potter,
Horse Speak Senior Instructor

The clinic was designed for all levels of abilities with a specific focus on deepening awareness of the partnership between horse and human.

Heidi supported each participant to further grow their trust to insure a safe and rewarding relationship with their equine partner.

Heidi Potter is an internationally known and respected Horse Speak Senior Instructor, Centered Riding Clinician, Accredited Horse Aglity Trainer and Author. She annually conducts clinics at MoonRise.

Adult Trauma Group
Led by Phil Prothero, MRT Staff
A support group for adults to deepen self-awareness and understanding of how to process emotions stemming from trauma.

Adults learned to support each other through experiential and holistic therapy techniques while partnering with the therapy horses to aid in connection and relationship building.
All smiles from individual summer programming clients!

Birthday Celebration!

Thank you, Laura, for making Millie's 9th birthday so special!
Summer and Fall Intern
Conner LaFromboise
Conner assists with programming implementation and closely works alongside the clinicians, equine specialists, therapy horses and volunteers. Conner kindly agreed to answer questions in order to share information about her MRT experiences. Conner is pictured here, left of horse with Sienna, MRT Staff, during a clinic earlier this summer.
What degree you are studying for?

Clinical Mental Health and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (CMHCRC) at Thomas University, in Thomasville, Georgia.

What attracted you to MoonRise Therapeutics, and to apply for a possible internship?

I am blessed to have been introduced to Moonrise through a local practicing therapist that posted my need for fieldwork placement on the Upper Valley listserv. The next blessing was DJ responding to it. I was drawn to Moonrise because of the rich and rare opportunity in counseling fieldwork to get experience integrating animals in the therapeutic process. I grew up around horses and had a horse when I was young, but have not been around horses for years. When I interviewed at Moonrise, I was captured by the atmosphere and could tell it was a very special place with healing and enriching energy, animals, and people.

Why equine therapy?
I would like to share that equine-assisted psychotherapy, as practiced at Moonrise with Gestalt theoretical orientation, has given me an immense appreciation for experiential and social learning. I am beginning to understand how powerful lessons and connections are when they include others and lived experiences, as opposed to reading, talking, or thinking about lessons and connections. (Also important, but I now see how sometimes greater depth and meaning is available when more integration is practiced.)

What has surprised you about the partnership with the horses at MoonRise?

How much the horses keep teaching me! And how being here, and connecting with the horses and people at Moonrise continue to concretize and further-integrate wisdoms that life has been opening me to.

What are three things you have learned about yourself in relation to partnering with the horses for therapy work?
1. I can develop cognitive, social, and emotional skills that enable me to:
a) Identify when a triggering social interaction is fundamentally a
situation of someone around me being in the process of learning certain
b) Successfully process a situation and maintain my own functioning.
c) Promote my own and others' growth as opposed to staying stuck in
feeling and thinking states that are useful for and part of thorough
processing, but otherwise can be barriers to connection and progress.

2. I can develop skills to channel my energy in ways that support
myself and others.

3. I am successful when I operate from a place of patience. Such
as, moving patiently, interpreting and responding patiently, giving
myself patience in the context of compassion for the inevitable gaps
between my passions, goals, and accomplishments.

How do you see clients responding to the horses - can you give an example?

I think connection and response to the horses is highly nuanced, but some examples might be finding peace; strengthening skills like leadership, boundary making, and need-recognition; intrapersonal discovery; and becoming more open to others experiences, and depth of processing.

How do you see the horses responding to the clients - can you give an example?

Observing the horses responses to others is something I want to notice more. What I do notice is horses are ALWAYS noticing. They are supremely perceptive and it is beautiful to watch how they understand people's needs and engage in ways that facilitate growth and the meeting of those needs.

What word comes to mind when you think of each horse?
Bart: Clan elder
Krystall: Misassumption (because he has helped me challenge and recognize faulty conjecture)
Makata: Presence
Millie - Inner-child
Spirit - Devotion

Where do you see yourself in the near future and do you think horses will be part of it?

In future years I would like to be part of a healthcare and advocacy community that integrates what I view as essential modalites for flourishing. I also would like to have my life structured in a way that enables me to participate in both vocational (counseling) and avocational (writing/creative projects) callings.  

My passions are very broad right now, but I plan to maintain and build my network in the equine community. If my future personal and/or work lives are not directly connected to horses, the window MoonRise has given me into this world is one that I will forever be connected to and one that I want to share with others who are desiring more connection.
Equine Specialist, Jennifer McDermott
Jennifer, a certified PATH instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health joins the MRT staff, bringing a wealth of experience to the overall program. A passionate horsewoman since the age of 10 she has showed hunter/jumper and hunted with the Somers Hunt Club over the years. Following college, career and family distractions she was reaquainted with her passion for horses while living abroad in Singapore. There she volunteered at an equine therapy stable, Riding for the Disabled. Upon her return to the US in 2005, Jennifer began rehabilitating horses at Bill Steinkraus’s barn in Connecticut. Her focus turned to thoroughbreds recently off the track.

In 2010, Jennifer developed a holistic approach to horse wellness and training using techniques from Reiki healing arts and Marker teachings as the foundation. She was instrumental in the promotion of the diagnostic behavioral modality known as OSCAR therapy (recognizing and treating trauma in all species). She also hosted a radio show, HORSEtalk where equine wellness and local equine events in Connecticut were featured. Seeing the link between the traditional veterinarian world and the integrative wellness world she organized and facilitated an Equine Wellness Fair in 2016 and 2017.

Finally, in 2018, Jennifer moved to her husband’s family home in Vermont, allowing her to have horses at home and spend time at MoonRise. 
Jennifer pictured above with one of her horses believes the greatest gifts horses bestow are their unfailing effort to keep we, humans in the moment, while teaching awareness and fairness without judgement. 

Pictured from left to right is Jennifer, therapy horse, Bart, and Sienna Whitney, MRT Staff and PATH certified ESMH instructor.
Food and Concert
Annual Fundraiser
September 26, 2021
at MoonRise Farm, Taftsville, Vermont
5 pm - 7:30 pm

by Chef Nick from Mangalitsa
Featuring Jay Nash

Reserve tickets for
MRT's Fall Fundraiser

MoonRise Therapeutics
PO Box 90
Taftsville, VT 05073