True North Youth Ranch
Eagala is a revolutionary mental health treatment model incorporating horses who are highly attuned and offer a safe space for clients to discover their answers within themselves.
Milton and Tammy Cruz have loved and owned horses for many years. It has always been clear to them that equines are extraordinary animals as created by God. Horses are able to build unique relationships with humans and are highly capable of reflecting the emotions of their owners or handlers. We can observe that horses are a “fight or flight” animal and one that finds safety and peace within a herd, or family unit. Horses are highly aware of their environment and exhibit extraordinary communication within their herd. They also pick up on non-verbal cues and subtle body language from humans. At times, their responses to these cues are similar to those found in human relationships. The horses and their interactions, both with the humans and with each other, can become a symbolic reflection of what is happening in a person’s life. Tammy chose to pursue becoming an Eagala (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) certified professional because she believes in a team approach – one that is non-mounted, solutions orientated, and that follows a high code of ethics.
The Eagala model of therapy is very experiential! Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in physical activities. Some of these activities involve horses used to assist in processing thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and patterns. The Eagala model requires that all work is done with a qualified, professional team. This team consists of a licensed/registered mental health professional and a professional equine specialist; as well as one or more horses.
We do use The Eagala model as a guideline for counseling. However, as a faith-based outreach organization, we also focus on God’s intervention on the human condition; rather than leading people to believe that humans can always find the solution to life’s challenges within themselves. We do not force religion on people but offer Biblical counseling when individuals are open to hearing about a relationship with Jesus Christ.