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Program offers therapy through horses

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -

A new treatment program in Marathon County is using horses to help people who have problems.

It involves interacting with horses, much like a patient interacts with a doctor.

Jenna Saul and her husband started "Horses Treat" in 2012.

The program offers mental health services through physical interaction with horses.

"They are prey animals and we are predators, they are very aware of us, they read us, they mirror us," said Jenna Saul, Program Founder.

Saul says because the horses can read humans so well, they teach people how to form real connections with the animals.

People can then use those new skills in real-life situations.

Trainers say participants in this therapy use feelings, patterns and behavior with the horses to better understand themselves.

"It proves itself over and over and over again everyday with the revelations that you see people reach those ah ha moments that people have," added Saul.

The program uses something called the E.G.A.L.A model process for treatment.

"The E.G.A.L.A stands for the Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association," said Lynn Moore, Trainer.

E.G.A.L.A allows patients to work with the horses on the ground.

No riding skills or horsemanship is required.

"We're there to provide a safe environment, within which they can practice skills and think through and process things that are troubling them," said Saul.

For example, leaders say a mother having trouble with a teen-age son can learn new skills working with a big horse.

"The participants have the opportunity to step into the experience," said Moore.

"It's worth every penny of our efforts to share that with children and families," added Saul.

Saul adds that other therapists and psychiatrists in the area have recommended this therapy for their patients.

"We've had good support from our community, therapists and psychiatrists," said Saul.

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