With Thanksgiving around the corner, a strong feeling of gratitude comes over me, and I want to thank the E3A community for being there for each other.
We are grateful to the horses who bring us so many valuable insights and show us the way, to the clients who help us keep our farms sustainable, and boost the local economy.
We are thankful for the inspiration we get from each other, as we adapt the E3A model to our own areas of expertise. There are innovative personal development workshops, targeted retreats for women in law, professional videos and TEDx Talks to get the word out, to name just a few recent examples.
This would not be possible without the foresight of our founders who developed an outstanding curriculum, and our master trainers who certify and inspire us. It's no wonder that we are getting such positive feedback from our US and international participants.
Every day, I experience the support and camaraderie of our volunteer board and committee members, and the professionalism Margaret Wilson brings to the association. What a treat!
There is still so much to do to develop the full potential of the association. May the collaborative spirit on which E3A was founded continue to fuel the positive energy we are enjoying today.
EQUAL-ARK is located in tropical, urban Singapore, an island city-state-country just below the tip of Malaysia. We are home to seven equine partners - six ponies and a horse- five of whom were rescued. Our human team has been growing (currently at 21) hand-in-hand with the ever-increasing range of Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) programs offered at EQUAL-ARK.
Two new programs, Patchwork and Dignify, catering respectively to families in need and the elderly with dementia, were added this year. The EQUAL-ARK staff that supports the elderly program has also been working hard to develop for 2019 an equine mobile program in which our ponies would be transported to nursing homes to meet and greet those who are less mobile. At the same time, we will be rolling out a program targeting the caregivers of people with special needs.
The work with our youth program continues to be very successful and has experienced continued improvement. School teachers have remarked that this year's youth program has been the best year since we began the program several years ago. Primarily, we are cooperating with two schools that send students to us each day, morning and afternoon. The students that participate number about 160 each week for a total of 8 or 16 weeks for each course.
An estimated one in 10 people aged 60 and above has dementia, which is characterized by the gradual decline of brain function and ability, such as in thinking, memory, and judgment. Half of those aged 85 and older have some form of dementia. By 2030, the number of people with dementia in Singapore is expected to more than double to 103,000.
We have also conducted a couple of corporate training workshops for the French sporting goods company Decathlon as well as for the Singapore Ministry of Health. 2018 has been a fascinating year for us to say the least.
Every year, 550 youth at-risk and youth with special needs benefit from the program. (Image by S B Sivaganesh)
A significant part of EQUAL-ARK's development and success is attributed to its strong commitment to staff training. And a cornerstone of this training is the Equine Experiential Education by E3A. All facilitating instructors at EQUAL-ARK are slated to attend the C1 - C3 training program. I had the opportunity to attend the program in October of 2017 at the lovely Spirit Song facility, located in Anna, Texas. The rich content covered over a six-day period provided a strong basis to understand the equine-experiential learning and facilitation process. I left the States with a greater level of confidence to be able to plan and facilitate my programs in Singapore. One of the key "take aways" that the experienced Master Trainers Linda Pucci, Kim and Todd Shook actively sought to impart to us was an understanding of the five-question model and how to effectively use that model. Being only five questions long, it is easy to remember and apply; and it is comprehensive enough to help facilitators transform the experiential learnings gained in the arena to action-orientated strategies for the real world. The model also provided EQUAL-ARK instructors a common language to improve our facilitation skills collectively during in-house training sessions.
Fond memories of the friendships made at Spirit Song, Anna, Texas.
My past year has been well-spent calibrating the facilitation style and program structure for our youth clients in Singapore. As most of the at-risk youth program attendees are required to participate in our programs, winning their trust and commitment is a crucial part of the work. This requires yet another skillset. The Pillars of the Equine Experiential Education Learning Experience (in C2) assisted us in seeing and expressing how EAL works as well as in understanding how to implement a unique, non-judgemental mode of learning environment for our youth clients. Taking the time to get to know each of our youth participant's diverse narratives and backgrounds facilitated the overall learning process later. With experience, I have found myself more attuned to the clients' goals and readiness for change and more skillful in my timing when applying the five-question model to promote that change.
Some of our youth participants are not forthcoming in expressing themselves while others do not even know how to express themselves. Many are more comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns individually. We have found that we can apply the five-question model to any of these modalities and have also learned that applying the five-question model without the pressures of the group is often more productive. Further readings on The Stages of Change by James Prochaska, Carlo DiClemente and John Norcross as well as The Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management and Opportunity Development Approach to Helping by Gerard Egan complemented and consolidated my understanding of the E3A approach towards change.
Structuring the program in a progressive manner has also helped our clients learn social-emotional skills at a pace that they are comfortable with, building up their self-esteem through the process. At EQUAL-ARK, horse-riding sessions are a pivotal part of the program due to its attractive hold on Singaporean youths and its power to unlock defenses and to foster new habits. Having fun and celebrating success are also a huge part of the EAL culture at EQUAL-ARK, another value-added contribution learned during our E3A training.
In the near future, the EQUAL-ARK team desires to find ways to build upon the foundations learned through E3A to achieve an even more conducive social and learning environment. Recently, we learnt of an empowering culture "The Social Discipline Window" that facilitators could use to engage disruptive behavior displayed by at-risk youths during the EAL program. It was derived from Restorative Practice which has been brought to our attention by an exchange we had with a local social-service provider. Mindfulness is another practice that we are assessing to determine how it may be added to our programs at EQUAL-ARK as it promotes the experiential nature for self-discovery. A Mindfulness horse riding session, for example, could manifest itself by coaching the rider to anchor his or her attention on the horses' motion while riding blindfolded. This exercise would build up our clients' emotional muscles associated with frustration tolerance and delayed gratification, important skills needed for emotional regulation. For each of these value-added propositions, the five-question model approach will be key to our assisting our clients to achieve their individual and collective goals.
Instructors at EQUAL-ARK trying out the Mindfulness riding. The horses initially assigned to the four blindfolded riders, standing at the front, are switched without their prior knowledge. The one put on the biggest horse might end up with a little horse from the surprise.
As the EQUAL-ARK team continues to learn and grow through our work with EAL, we would like to extend our gratitude to E3A for giving us an excellent head start.
Cheers, Alaric Seah, Instructor at EQUAL-ARK Singapore
Upcoming Training - Certification & Enrichment
For a complete list of the 2019 Calendar of Events & Trainings, click here.
Interested in becoming certified in 2019?
Level 1 certification consists of a Teleclass (C1), plus 6 days (C2 and C3)
instructed by two master trainers in the arena.
We limit enrollment to small groups to give you lots of personal attention.
When: Saturday, April 27, 2019 to Monday, April 29, 2019
3 day arena seminar 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM PDT each day
Registration closes 7 days prior to the event. Register here.
Additional C2/C3 trainings will be announced in the January newsletter.
Having trouble registering? Call us at 775-376-2530
Horses Teach Healthcare Students Leadership Competencies at the University of Kentucky
For five years The Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education and Research at the University of Kentucky (UK) has been sending students in medicine, nursing, physical therapy, dentistry, and public health out to work with horses as part of their semester long Leadership Legacy Program. Lissa Pohl, Program & Outreach Associate in the Department of Community & Leadership Development, and E3A Master Trainer, has had the pleasure of using the E3A model of facilitation to teach self and social awareness (EQ), intention, presence, and patient centered care with up to 24 students per year.
The following video was created by the College of Nursing at UK to show how powerful this type of experiential learning is in teaching competencies that support effective co
Domino and Janine Lungren, University of Kentucky Nurse Residency Program Coordinator. Photo courtesy of Gillian Vallis.
mmunication and relationships across healthcare professions. Many thanks to Dr. Janie Heath, Dean of the College of Nursing and James C. Norton, PhD. for allowing us to share this video with those doing EAL work.
Mindy Tatz Chernoff and her double registered Paint and Pinto gelding have made TEDx Talk history! As far as we know, Mindy's gelding, Viton is the only horse in the world to be featured in not one, but two TEDx Talks.
Viton and Mindy Chernoff
Back in October, 2015, MIndy offered her first Talk to the world. At the end, it showed a picture of Viton sitting on a bean bag chair. Mindy had taught Viton how to sit while she was going through a challenging time, and wanted to create a new and fun way to connect with him. After a stellar show career, where they won the Pinto Congress not once, but twice, he is now semi-retired.
Fast forward to September, 2018. Mindy, after her E3A training, took some of the tools learned and applied them to a time of pausing, stillness and contemplation, partnering with the horses for an unusual and empowering experience of "Horse Circles."
Her second TEDx Talk,
(youtube.com/watch?v=5l60ycDfgCc) is entitled Love, Connection, and a Horse. At its conclusion, it features Viton coming out LIVE and sitting on a bean bag chair.
The production of a TEDX talk takes a good staff, an active audience, lots of practice and an amazing horse.
The process of offering a TEDx Talk is a difficult and brutally time consuming process. Long hours of memorizing, rehearsing, blogging, outlines, taping, over and over. And, that is just the beginning! To add a live animal to the process is certainly not for the faint of heart. However, Mindy knows Viton rather well-they have been a team for over 14 years. Her trust in him was unwavering.
In addition, working on a TEDx Talk, along with running an Equine Facilitated Learning business, and a farm, and a home, and other responsibilities is a herculean task, for sure! However--here is the good news--when it is OVER, and your Talk is about to be published, the feeling of accomplishment is like no other.
For Mindy, it is all about the HORSE. About what they offer us, and how these Master Teachers change hearts, and change the world. For more information, and to see how the horses can change YOUR heart, Contact Mindy at
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 www.E3Assoc.orgunderMembership.
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?