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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
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Vice President of Learning & Community Impact

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Director of Learning & Community Impact

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Tyrone Quarterman, BA, MPH Candidate
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Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Consultant

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Mane Force

Ivy Hill Foundation, Inc.

Mane Force Logo

Program Website
Year:
2018
State:
Pennsylvania
Winner Status:
Applicant
Program Type:
Program
Target Population:
Children and Adolescents
Setting:
Business/Work Site

Program Description

This program will utilize the unique advantage of a natural and neutral classroom in the barn setting, the natural beauty of the grounds/facility and a horses’ heart to reach high school students challenged by self-hatred, low self-esteem, emotional trauma, and stressful life events that trigger self-harming behaviors, victim mentality, anxiety, depression, opposition defiance disorder, bulimia, anorexia and substance abuse. Ivy Hill’s caring team of instructors, staff and horses will provide new life experiences, bridge the distance built by anxiety, depression and isolation, and restore hope. Beginning with Horsemanship, ground activities that include grooming, feeding and washing our horses teach hygiene, build trust and foster the beginnings of belonging to/being a part of a community in a safe environment. For 13 weeks spent under the guidance of a PATH-certified Equine-Assisted Mental Health instructor, students will learn communication and coping skills. Adolescents who have experienced heartache, anxiety, isolation and the debilitating effect of hopelessness will have the opportunity to believe in possibilities, to see the world from a different viewpoint, and to experience wonder, joy, love and hope, and most importantly, to heal mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The connection between nonjudgmental horse and wounded psyche breaks through barriers, opens hearts and restores souls.

Creativity

What better way to open the mind and heart and break down barriers than by the connection and relationship between horse and youth. Mane Force is a program designed to be incorporated into the 2017 Fall and possibly Spring Semester curriculum of local high schools for identified students with risk behaviors/behavioral issues. This will create a collaborative partnership to achieve positive results with at-risk student populations from local school districts . Many students struggle with self-image, anxiety, depression, and inadequate coping skills. The goal of the partnership between Ivy Hill and local schools is to develop therapeutic and behavior management utilizing the equine experience to enable students to seamlessly and successfully transition learned skills to their home schools, engage in the world around them, and build confidence, restore trust and reduce emotional isolation.

Leadership

Megan Hance MS Ed, Program Director for Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center, has outlined and developed an out-of-the-classroom experience for middle and high school students that challenges them while at the same time nurtures and encourages them. Students attend session at the therapeutic facility weekly over the course of the semester. They are assigned a horse that is “theirs” for the semester, take on the responsibility for feeding, grooming and caring for them as they evolve to the point of trust – sitting on their back and riding in the ultimate form of non-verbal communication and feedback. They learn teamwork as they work with fellow students, barn staff, instructors, and the horse. Ms. Hance is collecting data from each session, will analyze and share with local schools and equestrian facilities, and has created lesson plans, evaluation forms and outlines that can be easily replicated. The program is shared via press.

Sustainability

The original program is funded through a granting foundation for the first school year, Fall 2017 through Spring 2018. As a non-profit organization, Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center fundraises vigorously throughout the year to sustain the local programs that make such an impact in the community. Local businesses and organizations are being asked to sponsor the program with Vantage Academy of Souderton. The hoped-for result of will be a continued unique program specifically structured to improve the lives, health, future and community participation of this specific student population. The has the potential to become a standard in the discipline of equine-based therapeutic programs, a role model that can be duplicated by cohort programs in the Pennridge, Bucks and Montgomery County communities, and create an expanded data base for the utilization of dynamic and synergistic therapies that will help to heal and form the next generation of adults in our communities.

Replicability

There are three therapeutic equestrian programs in Bucks County, one in Montgomery County and one in Philadelphia County. All of these facilities are follow the standards of practice of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), and have instructors that are certified in Therapeutic Riding, Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT), and in Equine Assisted Mental Health. In every school district. IEP’s and case plans are in place for students who deal with mental and behavioral health issues. The program outline, curriculum, evaluation materials and funding options will be shared at the Executive Round Table, a group of participating therapeutic barns throughout the state of Pennsylvania that meets twice a year. Outreach to school districts of the program and results will be done through presentations and outreach.

Results/Outcomes

The desired outcomes are: Students will: Demonstrate improved self-regulatory and coping skills, appropriate verbalization of thoughts and feelings, and demonstrate appropriate recognition of and respect for personal and behavioral boundaries. Demonstrate and verbalize reductions in fear, and an improvement in positive assertiveness, focus and problem-solving skills. Demonstrate/verbalize improvement in impulse control, improved communication skills, increased patience and confidence. The hoped-for result of this project/funding will be a continued unique program specifically structured to improve the lives, health, future and community participation of this specific student population. The has the potential to become a standard in the discipline of equine-based therapeutic programs, a role model that can be duplicated by cohort programs in the Pennridge, Bucks and Montgomery County communities, and create an expanded data base for the utilization of dynamic and synergistic therapies that will help to heal and form the next generation of adults in our communities.