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Ginny and Gia
Happy New Year to our E3A friends!

As usually happens at the end of the year, we take time to look back on the successes and challenges that we faced during the past 12 months. With the strike of the clock at midnight on December 31st of every year, we have the opportunity to set new goals and begin again to move forward in our quest for improvement in some area.

E3A as an organization is no different and our Board of Directors have been busy with many important projects. One of our big projects in 2015 was a complete redesign of the E3A website. We had hoped to have the new website up by January 1st, 2016, but as is often the case with these kinds of projects, getting the final details in place is holding up our launch date a bit. However, as a member of the team working on this project, I can tell you that it will be well worth the wait to see and use the new website!

Our Program Committee has also been very busy planning our 2016 training schedule. In 2016, we will be offering our Level 1 Certification all across the country, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us in building your facilitation skills in order to grow your EAL business! In addition, we will continue to offer our Network Community Telecalls (free to members) on a variety of subjects focused on helping you with a variety of challenges in running your EAL program. Click here for a complete schedule of events.

We also have a Conference Committee working to develop a new E3A Annual Conference. This will be a very exciting event focused on bringing together people who are doing equine experiential education with corporate clients, personal development and education groups.

As we begin 2016, we'll have a small group working on strategic planning so that E3A can grow in a way that creates long term sustainability for the organization. We know that this is important to our current and future members and the Board believes that E3A is poised to be the leader in providing competency-based certification for those wanting to do EAL work in a non-therapeutic setting.

As the Board President for E3A, I am beyond excited at all that is happening with our organization and I very much look forward to helping you be successful in your EAL business!

Best wishes for a prosperous New Year!

Ginny Telego, E3A Board President 
   2016 Calendar-at-a-Glance
The courses offered during each month are shown below. Click on each month to go to the E3A calendar for the details about locations, dates, times, and pricing.

C2/C3 Bundle Pricing: Register for C2 and C3 classes together and get a $250 discount!

January 2016
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
C2 (Indianapolis, IN): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
C3 (Indianapolis, IN): Advanced Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
NM1: Community Network Meeting: Strategic Planning Round Table for Improving Your Equine Business

February 2016
E3 (Teleclass): Assessing Team Culture Teleclass - Based on the Book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
NM2: Community Network Meeting: The In's and Out's, the Up's and Down's of Social Media for Your Equine Business

March 2016
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
C2 (Hillsborough, NJ): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
C3 (Hillsborough, NJ): Advanced Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
E5 (Teleclass): Introduction to E3A Personal Development & Wellbeing (PDW) Teleclass
NM3 (Teleclass): Community Network Meeting: Fundraising for Horsey Nonprofits: How to Raise the Money You Need to Fully Fund Your Mission

April 2016
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
C2 (Vancouver, BC): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
E6 (Anna, TX): Creating Personal Development & Wellbeing EAL Workshops
NM4 (Teleclass): Community Network Meeting: The Secret to Managing Difficult Participants

May 2016
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
C2 (Vancouver, BC): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
E2: StrengthsFinders Arena Class: Using StrengthFinders with E3 Leadership and Team Building Programs to Enhance Client Results
NM5 (Teleclass): Community Network Meeting: The Key to Success is Between Your Ears

June 2016
C2 (Kingsley, PA): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
C3 (Kingsley, PA): Advanced Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
E5 (Teleclass): Introduction to E3A Personal Development & Wellbeing (PDW) Teleclass

July 2016
C2 (Kenwood, CA): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
C3 (Kenwood, CA): Advanced Equine Experiential Education Facilitation

August 2016
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
E6 (Kinsgley, PA): Creating Personal Development & Wellbeing EAL Workshops

September 2016
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
C2 (Santa Fe, NM): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
C3 (Santa Fe, NM): Advanced Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
NM9 (Teleclass): Community Network Meeting: How to Build Your EAL Business From Start-up to Success: The Top 5 Things You MUST Do

October 2016
C1 (Teleclass): Introduction to Equine Experiential Education Facilitation Method
C2 (Kingsley, PA): Foundations of Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
C3 (Kingsley, PA): Advanced Equine Experiential Education Facilitation
C3 (Vancouver Island, BC): Advanced Equine Experiential Education Facilitation

  E3A Member Spotlight and New Board Member
E3A is delighted to welcome Cheryl Payton Bess as a new member on the E3A Board of Directors!

Cheryl Payton Bess, RN, MSN, Legal Nurse Consultant,
Cheryl and Slate
has a diverse background in the clinical and administrative arenas of healthcare. She holds a BSN degree from the University of South Carolina, and a Master's Degree as an Advanced Family Nurse Practitioner from West Virginia University. Cheryl also draws a wealth of clinical experience from her service in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, from which she was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Naval Officer at the completion of her obligation. Additionally, she has practiced as a Nurse Practitioner at the Morad Hughes Health Center at Jackson General Hospital in Ripley, WV and for Thomas Health Systems, located in Charleston, WV. Her knowledge and interest has spanned medical, legal, and insurance industries, as she has found success as a Risk Manager for WV Mutual Insurance Company and as a Legal Nurse Consultant for leading medical malpractice defense firms including Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso; Kay, Casto & Chaney; and Steptoe & Johnson.
Cheryl with Valentine
Most recently, Cheryl has found a niche in equine assisted learning. Pulling from her previous professional and educational experiences, Cheryl sought additional training through internationally and nationally renowned equestrian coaches and developed the following vision: to blend equine assisted learning to assist people in the healthcare industry with a new learning model in exploring their self awareness with the goal of enhancing the personal body language and communication skills needed for critically important patient communication and leadership in today's challenging healthcare setting. Cheryl now shares her expertise with individuals and corporations throughout the Southwest Virginia region through her co-owned business, Mirror Horse Interactions ( Additionally, she is certified as an Equine Specialist in the EAGALA Model, earned the designation of E3A Certified Practitioner by the Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A), and serves on the Board of Directors for Copper Crest Riding Therapy Program in Wytheville, VA, Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A), and the Pulaski County Humane Society in Somerset, KY.
Cheryl is currently building her equine facility in Pulaski County, Kentucky where she resides with her husband, Tim. Their daughter, Emily, resides in Charleston, WV. She plans to offer programs in the Somerset, Kentucky location in the Spring of 2016. 
C4: Specialty Certification in Equine Experiential Education
C4: Specialty Certification in Equine Experiential Education (Corporate, Education, or Personal Development Specialty)

by Linda Pucci, Ph.D.

Sometimes people wonder "what's next?" when they finish their certification as a Level 1 E3A Certified Practitioner.  Maybe they are just starting their business, or maybe they've been doing some type of equine assisted work for awhile. Jumping in and beginning to do workshops, especially with corporate groups, can be daunting.  It can be really challenging to plan those first workshops.  

But what if you could have two E3A Master Trainers coach you through the process?  What if you had all of the E3A templates to use, so that you didn't have to start from scratch?  What if you had other E3A Certified Practitioners to do it with you?  These are just some of the benefits of taking the C4: Specialty Certification in Equine Experiential Education (Corporate, Education, or Personal Development Specialties).  

When you sign up to take C4, you are pursuing our competency-based certification.  Your Level I certification is a knowledge-based certification, indicating that you've mastered the knowledge necessary to doing Equine Assisted work.  The Level II E3A Advanced Certification with a Specialty indicates that you've demonstrated your competence in a specialty area. It is a credential you can wear with pride, because it isn't necessarily an easy one to earn.  

Here's how it works:
  • Notify E3A at to let us know you are interested in getting your specialty certification and in what specialty.  You must pick Corporate, Education or Personal Development. (If you need help doing that, contact us and we'll help you figure out which is likely to be most useful to you).
  • If you know others (perhaps from your C2 and C3 training) that are interested in that specialty, contact them.  We may also know students who are interested in the same specialty.  You must have a minimum of four people.  
  • Once you have your team, you'll need to sign up for C4 to get all the materials and to have Master Trainers assigned.  
  • Your team will need to find a client.  You can deliver the workshop for free or charge for it.  We leave that up to you.  You also find the facility and horses.  
  • The Master Trainers assigned begin to work with you via three conference calls to prepare for the workshop.  We'll help you create the proposal (remember, there are templates to make that easier), you'll research the group you're going to work with, and you'll figure out what pre-workshop assessment to use and how to determine what issues you'll address in the workshop.  Your team will work together to get all the preparation done, and we'll be there to coach you through the process.
  • The Master Trainers will show up at the location you've picked for the workshop, and we'll review your agenda, your handout materials, and the horse activities you have planned.  
  • The day of your workshop, we'll be lurking on the sidelines, evaluating your performance.  
  • Following the workshop, your team will put together the Workshop Summary Report.
  • Each team member will also create an original horse activity that you are willing to share with E3A.
  • While you are doing those post-workshop activities, the E3A Master Trainers will be compiling information from the 47 criteria upon which you are each rated.  
  • We meet with you to give you feedback on what we see as your strengths and weaknesses. Then, we celebrate your earning your Level II E3A Advanced Certification with a Specialty--often with cake!
Level II E3A Advanced Certified Practitioners tell us that while the process challenges you, it also prepares you for just about anything that can come along in your future workshops.  It is an great opportunity to be "coached to competence" in the E3A model and in your equine assisted work.  

If you have any questions about your readiness for C4, you can contact Linda Pucci at 865-983-7544 or at   

  Mindfulness for Horses   
Mindful Support for Your Therapy Horse

by Nicole Birkholzer

Do you want to give your hard working therapy horse a gift?

Breathe with him.

Turns out, the simplest way to support your therapy horse--is through breath.

Taking a conscious abdominal breath, (breathe in through the nose to the count of three expanding your abdomen, exhale slowly through your mouth releasing your belly) puts us right into the present moment, the now, which is where the horse resides.

As we race through our fast-paced, over-stimulated days we barely breathe and that creates tension in our bodies.  We bring that tension to the barn, to our horse. But, a deep belly breath can change that tension. Research shows that proper breathing calms your nervous system, and if you're breathing deeply and consciously, you also, automatically calm your horse. Breathing more consciously puts you into the present moment and gives you a chance to connect with your amazing co-facilitator.

Here are several perfect opportunities to connect with your therapy horse through breath:
  • Next time you head to the barn or paddock, no matter how rushed you feel, take a deep belly breath, (inhale through the nose/exhale through your mouth) and in your mind tune in to the horse. With your breath tell him you're heading his way. 
  • When you get to the stall or gate, stop and take another breath and say "Hi Jimmy, let's get ready for our session" giving Jimmy a chance to wake up, or stop eating.
  • As you enter the stall and step next to Jimmy, instead of forcing the halter over
    his ears, take another breath and ask him for participation. Ask him to please put his nose into the halter. Stay open and curious while you ask. So many horses are never given the chance to respond to a verbal request. Jimmy might initially be surprised to be asked, but after a few more offers he will gladly cooperate. Before heading toward the grooming area, take another conscious breath and then invite Jimmy to follow you.
These small but significant efforts to connect with our equine facilitators pay off in all the interactions that follow. Your horse will be more tuned in to you because you are also more tuned in to him. It's a nourishing circle of energy for you both. Considering how much tension Jimmy feels, absorbs and holds while working with his clients, an occasional breath will do wonders for his mental, emotional and physical well-being--and yours as well.

NICOLE BIRKHOLZER is an author and relationship coach for horses and their
humans. As the creator of Mindful Connections ™, Nicole is pioneering a new approach to horsemanship and mindful living, where horses are honored as soul-companions and partners in our human search for happiness, fulfillment and wholeness. Discover the ancient wisdom of horses - and the unbridled intuition in every human heart at . And connect with Nicole on Facebook and Twitter at @Mindfulconnect .

Business Tips
Go From an Elevator Speech to an Elevator Picture

by Kim Shook, co-founder of Bella Terra Equine Adventure (

One of the most important things that I've learned as an experiential facilitator is that experiential learning (or learning from doing) is powerful because it is kinesthetic--it takes us out of our heads and into action, where we can learn from actual experience.  How can we harness the power of experience and use it in our business marketing and promotion?  Specifically, how can we take our marketing words and thoughts and transform them into a message that is more experiential?  High quality pictures and videos certainly are great ways to accomplish this.

For example, it makes sense to make your elevator speech one with pictures or a video to more powerfully explain the value of what you provide your clients.  At Bella Terra we've always used the picture below on our business card:

This picture conveys the experience clients will have with the horses, specifically a person working with a horse to accomplish a goal.  This picture has been a great conversation starter and engages people to ask questions about the value our program provides to clients. These conversations are much more engaging than when we try to explain experiential learning with horses without a picture.

People have a difficult time understanding equine assisted learning. Their only frame of reference is therapeutic riding. Because we work with miniature horses, people think we exclusively work with children. This picture clarifies these assumptions but showing that it isn't riding, it isn't just for children, and the picture shows insight to how people of all abilities and ages will work with our horses.
To better market your business, use your smartphone and share a couple pictures when you're doing your elevator speech. Even consider asking for the cell phone number of someone you're talking with--send them a text of a picture or video and use that number to contact them in the future.  It's true--a picture is a 1,000 words!
E3A is looking for bloggers!
E3A is looking for bloggers for the new E3A web site! If you are interested in blogging about running a successful EAL business using the E3A model, contact Margaret at and let her know your interests and expertise for serving as an E3A blogger.

Join E3A!
If you are not a member of E3A, we'd like to invite you to join us.  There are many benefits to being an E3A member, including free Community Network Meetings, great people to network and exchange ideas with, and some opportunities that are only open to our members.  Check them out at  under Member Benefits.   

Want to be more involved?
We have plenty of volunteer opportunities. Call us to let us know how you want to help. Remember, every horse in the herd plays a role in the herd's success...What part will you play in OUR herd? 

Your Friends at E3A
Equine Experiential Education Association
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