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.
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.
Six years ago, she adopted her first horse Ace who inspired her to start a therapy business using horses.
“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.
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.
What is equine therapy?
“It’s really coaching and learning life skills, recognizing emotion, reducing stress,” said Allen.
Equine therapy started with riding in the United States in the late 1960's. Studies are showing the benefits include:
- emotional awareness
- social skills
- 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.
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.”
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.
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