Equine Assisted Learning
At H3, we follow guidelines set by EAGALA -- Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, the leading international association for professionals incorporating horses to address mental health and personal development needs. Our approach is holistic, allowing horses and participants to explore their world through a relationship with each other. Our founder Arleen Gibson is EAGALA certified.
We never choose a horse for someone. The horse chooses them, and the special bonding begins. Healing happens as isolation is broken through having a living breathing entity respond to them.
Our veterans can tell a horse whatever their problems or burdens may be, without feeling judged, shamed or guilty. This voicing out loud is often the first time they have completely revealed their secrets, and doing so makes it easier next time.
Working with the horses can create new synaptic pathways in the brain. We recommend this article from BrainWorld Magazine for understanding more about how the reptilian brain and the amygdala play a role in the fight /flight /freeze syndrome that is impacted by trauma.
Arleen guides the experiential learning activities with input from each veteran involved. We are structured but fluid in activities here. What is important to them directs the plan, which may change according to what is going on in their life. We do not do riding per se -- H3 is not a horseback riding facility for the public. But if riding is something really important to a vet, then after they choose a horse and put some time in to getting to know the horse, they can ride in the round pen under my supervision.
Sitting astride a horse can be a challenging experience for those who have experienced military sexual trauma. When a veteran is ready to sit on a horse bareback and all that encompasses, it can be a very powerful and freeing moment.
Veterans are either recommended to H3 by their therapist, by the VA, or a social agency will give them the phone number. We schedule a time to meet them and work with them.
It is amazing how many veterans want to volunteer to help around the H3 property, and then tell me their issues. We strive to maintain a sense of community, trust and caring, in every interaction. It is much easier to talk about what really matters over a horse and Arleen is a good listener.
Cabins for Homeless Vets
As of May 2018 we have 2 cabins ready for occupancy for homeless veterans. Rent for these cabins varies, and is on a case by case basis. No Wounded Warrior should have to sleep under a bridge. Six more cabins are planned.
To qualify for living in one of our cabins, vets must be drug and alcohol free.
The cabins have solar panels and lights. The refrigerator, stove, and heater are propane fueled, and Enviro Propane in Arlington sells us propane at their cost. Federal regulations won't allow them to go lower.
Value Village has donated bedding, pillows, dish washing containers, a small dining table, and a couple of chairs.
We are in the process of the finishing touches but they could be occupied now.
The larger cabin is our first, and Triumph Aerospace in Redmond, donated most of the money and labor. A sign made in their honor saying TRIUMPH will soon grace the structure.
The second cabin was a cooperative effort of folks from Triumph, Comcast and Everett Community Transit.