Gallastar Equine Center
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Gallastar is a center for therapeutic horseback riding that has specialized in serving young people with cognitive and emotional difficulties since 1994. Based in Afton, Virginia, Gallastar was one of the first in the nation to form a true collaboration between the mental health community and therapeutic riding in what is now called equine assisted psychotherapy.
Through both mounted and unmounted activities at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels of horsemanship, young riders benefit from improved self-esteem and confidence, increased self-awareness, and an increased sense of mastery and control. With the horses acting as “partners” in therapy, children indirectly but openly express their own emotional needs. As they bond with their special horse, they develop a true sense of empathy and attachment for an animal which many come to love. The emergence and examination of these developmental processes are vital as children and young adults begin to establish meaningful and positive relationships with others.

On horseback Chores can be fun! A great group.

At Gallastar, the benefits of therapeutic riding are integrated into treatment paradigms to serve the specific needs of specific populations. Clients who enter the program with protective barriers as a result of emotional or physical abuse, for example, find the dependence and unconditional acceptance of the horses irresistible. Through their relationship with their special horse, they begin to open up to intimate relationships and get in touch with their feelings once more. When a client learns to communicate and achieve harmony with a 1,000 pound animal, they can begin to feel competent and effective in other areas of their life as well, often with profound results. Countless metaphors relating to issues of empowerment, safety and protection, healthy relationships, and other life lessons can be woven into each riding session and tailored to meet each individual's needs.

Young people learn from their mounts.

Please consider contributing to the Jane Marta Scholarship Fund.

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