Traumatised youth need to have experiences that directly contradict the emotional helplessness and physical paralysis that accompany traumatic experiences (van der Kolk, 2003) and horses are a great way to achieve this. Studies now show that the effective treatment of complex trauma needs to be structured and graduated in three distinctive phases of 1) safety and stabilisation before proceeding to 2) processing and 3) integration of the trauma experiences. Trauma cannot begin to be processed in the absence of ability to tolerate and regulate affect and conditions conducive to development of self-regulation are crucial. Horses evoke response and engagement and quicken emotional breakthroughs, particularly for those suffering from trauma, because they are non-judgemental, highly attuned social animals that mirror emotion and offer safe reflection and compelling feedback, while serving as living breathing metaphors and powerful stand-ins for the people, issues, and challenges in the youth’s life. The horses in essence act as ‘affect regulators’ of the youth’s dysregulated states to provide a growth-facilitating environment for the youth’s immature affect regulating structures. HorsePace is a small group EAGALA Equine Assisted Sensorimotor Psychotherapy program that fosters holistic processing by integrating the three levels of the youth’s being (cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor) to facilitate the effective management of internal states. Sensorymotor psychotherapy recognises the inextricable relationship between physiological and psychological processes, as well as the centrality of movement and the body in relation to trauma that neuroscientific research has established. The program focuses on each young person’s physical self-experience and self-awareness working with sensations and action tendencies in order to discover new ways of orienting and moving through the world. Processing is mediated through PACE (playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy), a framework developed by Dan Hughes to engage a young person and create in them a sense of safety and a safe space for them to express their own needs for connection and to activate their attachment functioning. The activities are planned around the horses’ reflected behaviours in response to each participant’s presentation and the group dynamics that emerge. This small group EAP program is run over the school term for nine weekly (90 minute) sessions, is limited to four participants, and ends with a closing ceremony where participants are awarded a certificate of participation. For further information or to book into this program, please call us or provide your email address via the “Contact Us” page and we will be sure to contact you.