Bergen County’s first equine emotional wellness center recently launched at Bergen Equestrian Center in Leonia. Operated by A Stable Life, the center intends to support families and individuals dealing with life challenges such as trauma, anxiety, isolation, the loss of a loved one, or a significant life change.
A Stable Life has been involved in the mental wellness space since 2012 and offers customized programs that utilize an interdisciplinary approach to healing. The experienced team offers a range of services for those in search of healing and incorporates horses in the healing process to help participants develop strategies to deal with various traumas, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, victims of crime and domestic violence, addiction, and grief.
A Stable Life’s equine-facilitated therapy program was established by Bergen County resident Anna Gassib, an Associate Counselor in equine therapy, trauma, Gestalt, and person-centered therapies. The program’s team consists of highly skilled professional counselors and equine specialists who are representative of the community it serves, with the team comprising of members from various religions, cultures, and those who identify as LGBT+.
A ground-based (non-riding) approach is used at A Stable Life to allow human participants to develop new skill sets, such as communication skills, through their interactions with horses within a safe environment. The programs at A Stable Life build upon the natural instincts of horses to assist clients grow and heal, with the horses positioned as an equal partner with the human client. Anna Gassib said, “Our horses assist with the counseling sessions; Individuals can come to this center for a variety of concerns, and when the client isn’t sure what’s coming up for them, the horses always know”.
A Stable Life offers bespoke programs for anyone, including children and adults with special needs, to help promote true healing. The team have worked with individuals and agencies such as Women’s Rights Information Center, Bergen Family Center, Bergen County Spring House – a halfway house for those recovering from addictions – and Covenant House of Newark.
Bergen Equestrian Center is a multi-service horse facility within Overpeck County Park in Leonia, New Jersey, approximately 2 miles from the George Washington Bridge. More information regarding A Stable Life and the equine emotional wellness programs are available on the Bergen Equestrian Center website.