Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we recognize Compadres Therapy of El Paso, Texas.
Board member and volunteer Linda Stewart graciously submitted the following article about Compadres Therapy, Inc.
Compadres Therapy, Inc. is a non-profit organization in El Paso, TX providing Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) to families and individuals with special needs, including but not limited to those who are physically, intellectually, or emotionally challenged and/or who are economically disadvantaged in the Southwest borderland (El Paso, Texas; Southern New Mexico; and Juarez, Mexico).
Compadres Therapy, Inc. is a place of inspiration where lives are enriched through education and experiences no matter age or background. Clients served are 18 months and older of age with a variety of special needs; cancer, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, PTSD, TBI, etc. The horses are carefully selected for the individual client needs and a large focus is on the animal human bond.
The core programs for EAAT as an American Hippotherapy Association Facility Member, a PATH International Member Center, and in addition with an EAGALA Certified Mental Health Specialist and an EAGALA Certified Equine Specialist as a part of the staff are:
Equine Facilitated Movement (EFM)/Hippotherapy
- Utilizing the movement of the horse as a treatment tool for individuals who are receiving physical, occupational or speech/language therapy.
- Treatments are provided by licensed therapists.
Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL)
- An education methodology that uses the interactions and development of relationships between horses and humans in an environment of learning and self-discovery.
- Facilitated by certified instructors or special educators.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
- Partnering with the horse to overcome mental health issues.
- Facilitated by a licensed and credentialed mental health professional.
Joy Ferguson, Compadres Therapy’s Executive Director, is a trail blazer who motivates and encourages people through her kind leadership and emotional intelligence. She is a knowledgeable horse woman, has a Master’s degree in Agriculture and several teaching certifications (vocational agriculture, special education, music, and social studies to name a few) and is in addition a certified PATH Intl. instructor. Joy introduced EAAT to El Paso as early as in 1986 and started the first therapeutic riding program in this region, Therapeutic Horsemanship of El Paso in 1988, where she was the Executive Director for several years. She founded Compadres Therapy, Inc. in 2009 to focus on the medical model and research proven outcomes of hippotherapy and equine assisted psychotherapy. Joy brings out the best in every horse and person who is a part of Compadres Therapy’s programs.
The organization also makes unique volunteer opportunities available for members in the community. The volunteers come from all walks of life, and not only different parts of the country but also different parts of the world (Germany, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, etc.). Volunteers are soldiers and family members stationed at Fort Bliss, veterans, students at University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), students attending Texas Tech Paul Foster School of Medicine, New Mexico State University (NMSU), members from the business world, retirees, high school students earning their community service hours, and many more. Several core volunteers in the team have been serving the EAAT community for more than 30 years in various capacities locally and nationally.
Compadres Therapy, Inc. continually cooperates with horse professionals and other non-profit organizations in the area as well as provides unique chances for individuals, families and teams that will enhance quality of lives for others and themselves in the process. The volunteers bring many talents to the team and are furthermore able to learn and develop new skills in an inclusive and supporting environment.
An example of cooperation with other non-profit organizations is providing EAAT to Candlelighters of West Texas and Southern NM, a local organization providing support to families with a child diagnosed and/or undergoing cancer treatment. Children, teenagers and their families come out to the barn and interact with the horses in a peaceful environment outside the hospital. Another example is that Compadres Therapy, Inc. partnered with the Tom Lea Institute for the second year in a row and hosted “The Hands of Cantú: Horsemanship at the Pass of the North” on October 15, 2016 for a combined horse/cultural event to showcase local horse talents and the variety of horse sport available in the area, and to educate the community about local horse history and the cavalry’s role in El Paso and at Fort Bliss.
If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.