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Archives | Access Adventure
EQUINE THERAPY FOR PTSD

EQUINE THERAPY FOR PTSD

For thousands of years horses have been mystical, magical creatures playing the role of transportation, gladiator, companion, entertainer and more. Now they are also playing the role of psychotherapy assistant through a discipline known as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) which is increasingly being used to treat war veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates that Post Traumatic Stress afflicts as many as one-quarter of the troops returning from the Middle East, or about 300,000 men and women. The growing field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is showing great promise in treating veterans and their families who suffer from the nightmares, anxiety, depression, anger, irritability and other debilitating effects of this invisible, yet very real disability. Preliminary Studies Validate EAP for PTSD Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD has gathered the attention of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Preliminary results are favorable, suggesting statistically significant rates of change. The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) also evaluated treatment of members of the Georgia National Guard where deployments averaged two years or more. The study revealed that 100 percent of soldiers who completed therapy had dramatically reduced stress levels. Animal-assisted therapy has shown evidenced-based efficacy in patients including war veterans with PTSD, depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders, dissociative disorders, and other chronic mental illnesses. Why Horses? According to Dr. Laurie Sullivan-Sakeada, a Utah based Clinical Psychologist and leading practitioner of EAP, horses are prey animals, and, like those who have been to war, rely on their heightened senses for survival. They react to and mirror the emotions of visitors directly, without words. Horses respond negatively to negative emotions. They respond positively to positive emotions, and they...
THE STONEWALL SPORTHORSES OF ACCESS ADVENTURE

THE STONEWALL SPORTHORSES OF ACCESS ADVENTURE

What IS a Stonewall Sporthorse??? The Stonewall Sporthorse is a unique American warmblood developed by International Champion horseman and World Champion breeder Michael Muir at his Stonewall Stud. His horses have established world sales records at auction, earned National Grand Championships in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, set world records racing (as well as setting sire and produce records) earned national titles in jumping and performance, and qualified four times to represent the United States in World Championship carriage driving competitions in Great Britain, France, Austria and Germany. Over the course of his life, Muir has been an avid trainer and exhibitor, but has found his greatest satisfaction and success as a renowned breeder of champion horses. Many of today’s Stonewall Sporthorses descend from generations in a careful and far-sighted breeding program that began nearly fifty years ago. Although some are noted for their colorful coat patterns, others are simply black, or occasionally another solid color. What qualities they are consistently bred for, and tested at the highest levels of competition are soundness, trainability, courage, and stamina. They are not to be confused with Appaloosas. Although some have a degree of Appaloosa breeding, others have none, owing their colorful leopard coats to the Danish Knabstrupper breed. Many young Stonewall Sporthorses carry imported Friesian blood. Other crosses include Trakehner, other European warmbloods, modern Percherons and Thoroughbreds. These crosses are carefully selected to bring desired qualities and hybrid vigor into the breed. The Stonewall Sporthorse tends to be a little bigger than average, with eye-catching movement and a tremendous capacity to work. Three Stonewall Sporthorse mares, the sisters...
THE BEGINNING OF ACCESS ADVENTURE

THE BEGINNING OF ACCESS ADVENTURE

Sybil Dukehart retired in 2000, eighteen years after founding United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc. Michael Muir was called to succeed her as president. In 2001, Michael formed an international team of people with disabilities to drive wheelchair accessible horse-drawn carriages three thousand miles across America to promote accessible horse sports and therapy. In 2002, they drove their horses across northern Europe. In 2003, Muir and Cindy Goff followed the path of John Muir’s 1867 Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, driving a wheelchair carriage with a single horse and two dogs. Michael and his team showed by example that disability does not mean inability. People enduring challenges can accomplish amazing things. “The worst disability is a bad attitude”, cites Michael. Muir retired as President of United States Driving for the Disabled in 2004 to found Access Adventure in California. His goal was to provide a regional model that demonstrates how to help the underserved throughout the United States and around the...
CHALLENGING THE LIMITS OF DISABILITY

CHALLENGING THE LIMITS OF DISABILITY

Para Equestrian Shares His Love of Horse Sports It began with a pony that boasted an improbable pedigree. The sire was a strapping son of Triple Crown Champion War Admiral, by the immortal Man O’ War. The dam was a diminutive Shetland. Michael Muir had his first pony, foaled in 1949, and a life-long love of horses was born. Michael was actively breeding horses by the age of thirteen, despite living in the town of Dixon, California with his family, and no farm of their own. Down the lane beyond the edge of town stood a large barn in need of a new roof. The owner was happy to let the young horseman indulge his dreams in exchange for the needed work on the barn. Michael had already found his life’s work. Beginning with Appaloosa show horses in 1965, Michael began breeding racehorses, and launched the careers of the World Champions and multi-million dollar sires Apache Double and Ocala Flight. His horses set world records racing and earned National Grand Championships in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. What is remarkable about this record is that Michael has lived with multiple sclerosis since the age of 15. Despite being hospitalized, bedridden or wheelchair-bound many times throughout his life, Michael has remained an avid and active horseman. He credits his very survival and fulfilled life to his involvement with horses. When the course of his disease prevented him from riding, he turned to carriage driving, and was introduced to the world of draft horses. He began crossing some descendants of his original Appaloosas with Percherons and European warmbloods,...