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'There’s no limit to what you can do'; Saint Johns woman starts equine therapy business

Pamela Allen Equine Assisted Coaching
Posted at 7:38 AM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 07:38:13-04

SAINT JOHNS, Mich. —

There's no doubt the pandemic has caused stress and uncertainty in our lives.

“This last year with changes in work and parenting and everything we’ve bumped up against,” said Saint Johns resident Pamela Allen.

Pamela Allen Equine Therapy
Pamela Allen is pictured here with her horse Zoe.

After retiring, Allen knew she wanted to continue helping people.

“I knew at some point child welfare would have to come to an end and I’d have to do chapter two,” said Allen.

Pamela Allen Equestrian Therapy
Ase was Allen's first horse six years ago.

Six years ago, she adopted her first horse Ace who inspired her to start a therapy business using horses.

Six years ago, she adopted her first horse Ace who inspired her to start a therapy business using horse.

“The parallels between what I was seeing with his history and child welfare and the kiddos I worked with just kind of kept speaking to me,” Allen said.

Pamela Allen Equine Therapy
Allen adopted Zoe from Horse Haven in January.

Allen adopted Zoe and Miko when she moved to Saint Johns in January and decided to launch Pamela Allen Equine Assisted Coaching.

“Equine-assisted coaching is different because we keep our feet on the ground, we don’t ride,” said Allen.

Pamela Allen Equine Assisted Coaching
Miko is Allen's miniature pony that she adopted in January.

What is equine therapy?

“It’s really coaching and learning life skills, recognizing emotion, reducing stress,” said Allen.

Pamela Allen Equine Assisted Coaching
Allen has different props to use in the equine therapy sessions.

Equine therapy started with riding in the United States in the late 1960's. Studies are showing the benefits include:

  • emotional awareness
  • social skills
  • confidence
  • impulse control
  • trust and empathy
  • problem-solving skills

“Maybe the client feelings like challenging themselves a little bit and recognizing how does anxiety feel in my body when I start to be challenged,” Allen said.

Through activities like leading or even painting on a horse, people can learn to navigate through their emotions.

“There’s no limit to what you can do,” said Allen.

Horses react to people's emotions
Allen said horses can react to people's emotions through their facial expressions and body language.

Allen said horses can detect and respond to human emotions, sometimes before the client recognizes what they're feeling, and react to the emotions they pick up on.

“Let’s say they chose Zoe," Allen said. "I’m watching for her facial expressions and her body language and her ears, tight muscles, her relaxed muscles.”

Pamela Allen Equine Assisted Coaching
Allen feeds peppermints to her horses as treats.

Allen continues to help

Even though she's retired, Allen said she wants to keep helping people by sharing her space and horses.

“This is me experiencing nature and sharing it with everyone else,” said Allen.

Allen said she's currently booking appointments for equine therapy through her Facebook page or her website.

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Lauren Shields

Lauren Shields

8:25 PM, Aug 21, 2019

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Lauren Shields

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