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Equine Heart Connection Holds Free Workshop for Veterans

The Bakersfield nonprofit gives participants an opportunity to experience how horses can help regulate emotion and give peace.
Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 20:28:55-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — We all know horses are good for riding and pulling carriages, but one less discussed aspect of horses is their therapeutic attributes.

Equine Heart Connection is a Bakersfield nonprofit that is trying to share this power with as many people as possible.

"They can hear your heartbeat from four feet away,” said Julie Stewart, founder of Equine Heart Connection.

“They can hear your breath, they can hear your breathing.”

Equine Heart Connection was founded in 2020 after a period where Stewart said anxiety had overtaken her life.

“I hit that moment that I just kind of broke down and couldn't hold things together anymore. I knew that at that point, I needed to do something to help myself.”

She started working with horses at a rescue, learning more about them, and eventually got a certification in Equine Assisted Learning.

Now, as part of Equine Heart Connection, she holds workshops that are free of charge to veterans.

“It's something I've been wanting to do for a while,” said David Cosimati, a veteran who has never gotten the chance to be hands-on with horses.

“It’s a really good, calm class,” Cosimati said.

“It's necessary,” said Stewart, “Our veterans sacrificed their lives for us. I want to be able to give something back to them.”

During the workshop, she goes over how horses can read people's energy and teaches self-control so the horse responds and connects with you.

First, they groom the horse to get comfortable with being near them. Then, participants perform a series of obstacles with the horses that require attendees to work as a team – Not just with each other, but with their horses as well.

“In doing this, were you thinking about your outside stresses?” Stewart asked the participants.

“Helps calm my nerves, helps me escape from the world out there and be one with the horse,” Cosimati said.

Stewart credits her work with horses as pulling her out of 20 years of crippling anxiety.

“I just wanted to be able to share that with at least one person in this world so they wouldn't have to feel what I was going through. This was my mission, My dream.”

“Being around the horses and having breathing techniques helps. I look forward to coming back,” Cosimati said.

You can find Equine Heart Connection on Facebook and Instagram, where they post upcoming events.

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