We've received some wonderful feedback over the years. Please take the time to read some of these heart warming stories from some of our clients.
Cooper - Age 7
My son Cooper, 7, was diagnosed with moderate-severe autism at a very young age. Cooper is virtually non-verbal and occasionally can manage to say a word, but they are few and far between. Cooper also has sensory integration problems and is constantly seeking movement and feeling things to seek out sensations. Despite of all this, Cooper is quite a happy little boy who enjoys life. When I first heard about Equine Learning Experiences Australia and their programs, I did not know exactly what to expect, but I had previously heard that horses have a special connection with people with disabilities. I did not expect a miracle, but decided to keep an open-mind and thought anything that could possibly make a difference in Cooper’s life was worth participating in. Our first session was very brief to see if Cooper was interested. When Cooper met ‘Razzle Dazzle’ he went straight up to her and gave her the biggest hug. He grabbed Emily’s hand to gesture that he wanted her to help him up. He put his face into Razzle’s mane to feel her hair with his lips. The smile on his face made me realise that this therapy was worth pursuing. When I said that it was time to go home, his face dropped and he was clearly sad to be leaving. The next morning Cooper got dressed for school and said “bus”. I was stunned as he had never said this before and the bus was due to arrive shortly. Over the course of the next week, Cooper’s teacher had said that he was saying more words at school. I noticed that he was saying more single words at home and they were all appropriate to what he was trying to do and not just repeating words that he had heard me say. The night of our second session, Cooper came up to me after tea and said “bath”. I was stunned because he’d never said that to me before. After bathing Cooper he said “bed”. I quickly put him to bed, he fell straight to sleep and slept there all night, as he has done every night since then. This was such a huge step for us because Cooper used to have to fall to sleep in the bean bag and be carried off to his bed after he’d fallen to sleep. If he was put in bed awake then he’d be awake until 2.00 in the morning. Since then Cooper has continued to say more words, more often. He has even said a few 2-3 word sentences, has sung a song he was listening to on the radio and has been the happiest I have ever seen him. At our last session Cooper even said “bye Razzle” when it was time to leave. I am so proud of his progress over the past 4 weeks and would thoroughly recommend this program to any parent who has a child on the Autism Spectrum. The benefits Cooper has gained from this experience are quite astounding and I can’t thank Emily enough.
Liz - Age 43
I was in a unique position before I started the Empowerment Program for women as I was conducting research into the benefits of Equine Assisted Learning for disabled and non-disabled adults at the time. Through my research I was aware of the objectives of EAL and the positive effects that participating in an EAL program can have on those who participate in a program. As a result, I entered the program as a participant and as a researcher. However, as the first day unfolded and I was exposed to the different characters of the horses and the activities which forced me to evaluate past and present relationships I began to realise the researcher in me was taking a step back and allowing me, the participant the opportunity to fully appreciate the phenomena that was taking place. The opportunity to create a space where I was able explores and reflect upon the relationships between, fear–courage, dominance–partnership, empowerment–disempowerment and clarity–ambiguity within the different relationships within my life.’ The overwhelming size and strength of the horses also demanded my attention and respect and required from me a level of attentiveness. As a result of the level of awareness I was experiencing, as Emily created activities where the horses were my co-workers and teachers I was able to development an understanding of what it really meant to be present in a particular moment. Something I have tried very hard most of my life to avoid and that was to deal with the moment …
I was able to give myself permission to be present to the emotions I was feeling and to allow oppressed emotions to surface and flow away and experience each emotion, not to own it or hold on to it, but just let it pass without judgment of myself. Even to this day, I give myself permission to explore, but not own any emotion that does not allow me grow in a positive way. Each session I attended, I came in a different emotional state which I was unaware of but soon became apparent to me by the behaviour of the horses. Over the years like most people I have become an expert at masking my true emotions from others and even to myself.
However, as clever as I believed myself to be when it came to masking or hiding what emotional state I was truly experiencing at a particular moment, I came undone in the company of the horse. When I presented verbal communication that did not reflect my internal state to the horse I happened to be working with, or behaved in a manner that did not reflect my internal state, the horse instinctively reacted by becoming restless or moving away from me. From the very reaction of the horse it made me reflect and become aware of the emotion I was really experiencing. As a result from this experience I have been able to address emotions and problems that arise in my life and instead of dismissing them, I acknowledge them and try and find productive and efficient solutions and then, move on.
Harley, Age 18
Hey, my names Harley and I’m from Ararat northwest of Ballarat which is where the Equestrian centre is. I started this program on the 18th of July (The day before I turned 18). I’m usually an angry depressed person and I tend to hold my emotions in and bottle them up and take it out on the people closest to me. After starting this seven week program I have learnt to accept my emotions and the fact that everyone feels the same way at some point in their lives. I started this program because like I said earlier I am a depressive angry person. That all came about on the 29/07/07, 10 days after my 12th birthday when I found out that my mother had passed away in a car accident. This program has taught me how to be who I am and how to basically use my negative emotions to be a happier person. Spending time with the horses (which I was initially afraid of) has been beneficial. Spending time with the horses allows me to learn how I feel inside as they are mirroring animals, the basically display the same level of the same emotion that a person is. This program has been amazing and has turned my life around, I’d recommend this program to absolutely anyone having trouble in their life or just feeling down. I am now a much happier and cheerful person and I owe it all to Emily and everyone else who has helped me through these difficult times in my life. Thank-you everyone, I will miss you all.
Teresa, Age 35
I had the privilege of taking part in an ELEA women’s program. It was a life changing experience, stunning in it’s simplicity, it all comes down to you and the horse in a round yard. The program came at a time in my journey when I was ready to tackle the big issues. It kicked started a wave of energy which continues to gain momentum and propel me toward living a fully authentic life, present in the moment and coming from the heart – all phrases I understand more deeply now. Emily, the horses and the other participants for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and experience. During the program I laughed and cried and felt safe and supported, but never pressured, to share my stories and insights with the other wonderful women who took part also. It was a beautiful journey within my greater journey, many amazing moments of clarity, understanding, acceptance and peace. Thank you so much to Emily, the horses and the other participants for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and experience
My 10 year old son and I, on reaching our appointment, [saw] open valleys and mountains in the distance, the serenity is one to be held in memories. We were greeted by Emily of Equine Learning Experiences Australia in Napoleons. After introductions and a cuppa, my son and I were introduced to ‘Mia’ and ‘Summer’, both lovely mares, who in return greeted us both with a few licks. The joy in my son’s smile said it all. You see, my son has ADHD and associated behaviour differences. After the loss of his sister, my daughter, to a traumatic road accident, his and my own mixed emotions of grief and loss are needing another form of therapy. I had an open mind that my son would fully understand what was spoken about in regard to our equine sessions. Emily’s professionalism in entrusting methods to deal with my own and my son’s issues have been practiced now on a daily basis. And in doing so, has bought my son and I, to a point in our lives which allows us both to breathe much easier in our approach to daily activities.
The connection between horses and human (Mia, Summer, Emily, my son and I) has truly been very honest, knowledgeable with powerful body sensing, mindfulness and emotionally healing feelings. My experience in joining in on my son’s equine learning program … has brought out in a controlled manner all of my traumatic PTSD and grief issues, all that was building up inside of me which is affecting my physical and mental wellbeing. I am now able, through methods taught by Emily and my horse to channel my deepest darkest feelings that have affected my personal life, and to deal with them and release them, instead of bottling them all up inside.
The reality of learning to change has been very welcoming and rewarding. Finally to seeand notice the change in my son and I, will always be a big part of our lives.
I had been in talk therapy and psychiatric care since I was 13 years of age. I have long standing and complex trauma and have tried multiple clinical treatments both as an inpatient and outpatient. I never saw any significant improvement within my mood, behaviour, trauma related issues or with being able to regulate my emotions until I engaged in enquire therapy.
Under the guidance of a counsellor, the horses have taught me a lot about what goes on in my body and how much of the trauma has been stuck there. As equine therapy is experiential, it has offered me opportunities to work through some of the trauma which has helped things shift in my body and given relief. This I could not achieve just in talk therapy.
The horses have taught me about my own emotions, giving me strength. I have experienced certain emotions for the first time such as compassion towards self, anger, sadness and freedom. It’s only while working with the horses and with the guidance of the counsellor that I was able to get to the place of knowing what these emotions are and what they feel like for me in a safe environment.
The horses tell me and the counsellor how I am feeling. I have recently learnt the change in their behaviour right before I am going to dissociate. This gives me an opportunity to find a safe place. They always reflect how I am feeling and sometimes remind me I need to stop and check in with myself. This within itself has taught me how to pick up earlier warning signs that things may not be okay. I’ve always understood this on a cognitive level in talk therapy but I always struggled putting it into practice where with the horses and with the support of the counsellor, I’ve safely been able to put this in practice. Personally, for myself, it has been a safe setting with the horses and the counsellor and it’s provided me a non-threatening environment to address the trauma and associated issues stemming from this.
Without equine therapy, I would still be stuck in the psychiatric system with weekly to monthly inpatient admissions, a nasal gastric tube for feeding and my reckless behaviour. Presently, I don’t need a tube for feeding or engage in any self-harming behaviours. Since I’ve started equine therapy, I now have compassion towards myself and my bodies no longer my enemy. Living with mental health and trauma over a period of time can change the relationship we have with ourselves and our bodies. Equine therapy has given me a healthy relationship with my body and my emotions. The best thing I’ve ever done is equine therapy, the first treatment to really help and I am grateful every day to have found something that really works for complex trauma.
Bushfire Trauma Recovery Program - Cobargo
I was sceptical about engaging with Emily in Equine Therapy. My impression was it was likely to be a "brush and pat a horse and tell me how you feel" type experience with no real content, as some Equine Therapy is.
I have spent hours with kids engaging with counsellors etc many with little to no benefit. Nevertheless, in Feb I did attend at Cobargo showground and was really surprised at the experience and different approach, although not really understanding it. Covid came and stopped Emily travelling up to Cobargo. Though we did touch base by phone.
I got to my lowest point around June and was quite desperate to get back on top of things. I was tired, no energy, and unable to get things back to normal, feeling like I wasn’t able to control what was going on around me, continually trying to override the physical and mental exhaustion. I was living on 0 to 4 hours of broken sleep a night. My mind was continually in overdrive and I was not achieving much. Emily then returned to Cobargo. I fully embraced her methods and I'm so pleased I did. I find her knowledgeable and really effective and easy to work with. Sitting under a tree with or without a horse is far more comfortable than sitting in an office.
I now sleep so much better using simple techniques. Emily addresses what your body and mind are trying to tell you which I'd been ignoring my whole life. I think we are so primed to "keep going" we need help sometimes to get past a point, when we get stuck.
I observe people around Cobargo still struggling and in many different ways .... relationships, the burden the work ahead, dealing with triggers like people smelling or seeing smoke. This often comes up in conversations with the associated fear for some. Things like this can easily be addressed when you know how. It’s definitely worth trying.
I would only attend Equine Therapy with Emily. She has great skills and experience and Cobargo is very lucky to have this service.
Bushfire Trauma Recovery Program - Cobargo
To all those who have their doubts and are struggling in some way, this does help!
Emily's use of equine therapy and somatic techniques have been a breakthrough in my healing process.
The somatic blinking technique along with 'mindfulness' allows me to better understand my feelings and emotions.
Emily says "It is important to listen to what our bodies are telling us and be aware of our surroundings as these influences what and how we feel."
Also, what i find helpful is Emily's experiences with others and the sharing of stories that can be related to.
I can't recommend Emily and the Somatic approach enough. Please try it as a way to better understand and accept what you are feeling and aid the healing process.
Bushfire Trauma Recovery Program - Cobargo
I have had sessions with Emily for the past 18 months. These sessions have been very rewarding and supportive to my mental health status.
Although we have only had 3 face-to-face sessions which would be my preferred option, due to Covid the ongoing phone consults have been great.
The therapy sessions have been very informative and surprising with how much we tend to hide/bury our emotions.
The need to be supported though this time of unravelling the layers of how it has affected me I have found to be instrumental.
The constant reminders and triggers slap us in the face on a daily basis. To have the support and being taught some of the tools to be able to cope with the future trauma triggers is imperative to my healing.
2015 ELEA Participant
I have post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, PTSD, CFS, Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, severe depression , the list goes on. Over the years I have tried many different types of medication , therapy programs, lifestyle changes, aand I have researched and tried as much as I could to help myself.
My job search provider offered me a program that they were trying out called ELEA, I jumped at the chance and rarely left my house.
When I first met Emily at session one she blew my mind, as she offered my 20 year old son who drives me around everywhere I need to go , join in the sessions pro bono every week(instead of sitting in the car for 2 hours waiting for my session to finish.)
Emily showed so much compassion and understanding towards me and my son and her horses are amazing.! Week one with the horses and I could feel a transformation within myself. My son and I would discuss the amazing changes with us both and we were eager to be with the horses every week.
The personal development has surprised me , I have learnt so much about myself and the 40 year of conditioning from life’s events circumstances. After ELEA I had more tools to move forward.
I have learnt to quiet my mind, relax my body which has helped me inmensely with my panic attacks and anxiety and in turn has helped the fibromyalgia pains decrease in severity and frequency.
The reduction in my pain and panic attacks is amazing. My quality of life increased with every session with Em and the horses. They really have changed our life for the better! I thank god every day for giving me this opportunity to heal, for giving me Emily , the horses and ELEA.
Father of PTSD sufferer
As the father of a daughter whose suffered catastrophic PTSD, we initially pursued every available option to help minimise and treat her trauma. Due to the nature of the trauma no previous therapy was effective enough to reduce the deep level of psychological impact she experienced.
After meeting Emily from Stable Nature we soon realised her form of therapeutic counselling was by far the most effective form of treatment for our daughter. My daughter has been seeing Emily for 5 years now.
A true litmus test was when midway through the last 5 years we had a break and very quickly returned to Emily after realising that necessity for her counselling. Through-ought the pandemic period, sessions were via zoom which proved to be just as effective, to the point we are now seeing huge progress with our daughter. I couldn’t recommend Emily from Stable Nature strongly enough.
Father of child with special needs
As the family of a child with special needs we have struggled for years to find an effective therapy that would engage our son, as well as give him a safe, calm environment to facilitate the emotional learning he so desperately needs. Traditional therapy and mainstream schooling have failed for our son but giving up on him was never an option. When we heard about Emily's ELEA program we were willing to give it a try, after 5 months of weekly visits we are so incredibly happy we did.
Our son is thriving in the ELEA program, he has engaged with the horses in a respectful manner. The program provides a platform for him to focus on his strengths and to rebuild his shattered confidence.
Under the guidance of Emily he is gathering the skills and confidence to honour his feeling and emotions without becoming overwhelmed and reacting in a negative manner. He continues to grow and we have seen growth in his emotional resilience, his concept of heathy boundaries, his focus and persistence.
We are so grateful to Emily and her beautiful herd for their passion and drive to be advocates and champions for children like our son. So often these kids are put into the "too hard basket" it's a wonderful thing to be involved in a program that looks outside the square to find a way to tap into the needs of these special kids. Thank you ELEA.
Bushfire Trauma Recovery Program - Cobargo
I have always been a level headed, stable and rational thinker and regarded myself too strong and able to deal with life-changing events. A friend recommended me to Emily following a number of upsets. A combination of Emily’s high level of skills in communication, professionalism and down-to-earth nature has made our very few sessions life-changing and helped me get my life back on track, looking enthusiastically into the future and having incredible gratification and peace in the world.