Mental Health, Crisis Intervention


Horse Sense for Humans

aka The Equus Effect, Inc.

Sharon, CT


To provide veterans and others in high stress situations with essential tools to increase resilience and build healthier relationships through purposeful engagement with horses.

Ruling Year


Co-Founder, Executive Director

Ms. Jane Alison Strong

Program Director, Senior Instructor, Trainer & Clinician

Mr. David Sonatore LCSW

Main Address

37 Drum Rd

Sharon, CT 06069 USA


Veterans, Mental Fitness, Emotional Intelligence, Mental Health, Trauma-focused healing, Equine Therapy, Equine Experiential Learning, Somatic Experiencing, Military Sexual Trauma, Suicide Prevention, Alternative Healing, Addiction, Recovery





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Mental Health Association, Multipurpose (F80)

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

The latest data on suicides among veterans reports that the rate has not dropped in the past 10 years. We know that suicide is the result of lost hope, lost connection to others and loss of meaning and purpose. We also believe that horses can provide a bridge back to life by offering vets the chance to rebuild healthy relationships through honesty and a willingness to learn a new way of 'being' in their lives. By teaching vets real horsemanship skills through ground-based exercises and activities, veterans have the chance to go from surviving to thriving. We believe that working with horses in this mindful, experiential way can accelerate their journeys from all forms of war to peace in their lives. We also believe that through our unique, structured curriculum, the people we serve can become resourceful and fulfilled as contributing members of their families and communities.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

3 5 8 16

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Equus Effect for Veterans

The Equus Effect for Women

The Equus Effect for Recovery

Train to Facilitate

TEE for Frontline Workers

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

NATIONAL ACCESS - Our aim is to offer this program on a national basis - at military bases and at therapeutic riding centers where veterans and others in transition from one phase of life to the next will be able to 'reboot' for life at home and in their communities. PROGRAMS FOR FAMILIES - We plan to offer this curriculum to significant others and caregivers to military personnel in order to further hone their relationship skills and to convey the importance of awareness and understanding in communication. This curriculum will adhere to the same principles and tools for self-management and emotional regulation as our primary offering, but would focus on specific issues that couples and families must face together. We would like our program to be available to every person (and his or her significant others) who is/are willing to CHANGE and WORK to become better partners, parents, co-workers and leaders. FRONTLINE WORKERS - We recognize that more and more people are impacted by the traumatic events that have taken us from being safe and secure (for the most part) to extremely vulnerable. Our healthcare and essential workers have been cast into new roles and are suddenly viewed in a new light because of this situation. Uncertainty on the battlefield is not dissimilar to the uncertainty all of us face now. THOSE warriors now include us....whether we signed up to serve or not. We aim to give these brave men and women a chance to renew their energy, restore their ability to regulate their emotions and of course, enjoy the relief that touch brings to any and all of us who need to settle down. We may be serving Warriors from all Walks of Life for a long time, and we are willing and able to do so.

Our strategies include: TRAINING - Train more facilitators who are qualified to work with veterans, people in recovery and others in transition and are also located in disparate geographic areas. We include peer counselors and clinicians who are qualified to become facilitators. We plan to include graduate programs for veterans and people in recovery to train as facilitators and current trainers to teach others so that we can build our capacity to serve more men and women. FACILITY IMPROVEMENT - Make our own facility available year-round so that we are not weather dependent. This would allow us to train new facilitators here at our location, continue to serve veterans and provide revenue-generating programs to clinicians and people in recovery 12 months a year. This would add at least $10,000 to our tuition fund for veterans and save at least $10,000 per year for space we now rent in order to train new instructors.

We now have seven facilitators who are serving as instuctors and are developing a course for them to train other trainers. We are hosting a research pilot study through the VA and Yale that is scheduled to begin in Spring 2021. While we are conducting that study here, the Director of Clinical Psychology at the VA has asked us to identify and train facilitators at other test sites. We already have two that are suitable and will be looking for more as the country continues its process of opening up. While we are able to serve those who need our time and attention in the areas we serve now, we will soon need more staff, more trainers and more volunteers at new locations as we reach into other areas of the country. We have three instructors and administrative staff at our main facility in Sharon to train new facilitators, volunteers and serve our current populations. We expect instructors at other locations to take our train-the-trainers program and to launch new facilitators within their organizations once they have graduated from our advanced training program.

We will have enough new facilitators (veterans and civilians) so that we can scale the program up to reach more veterans and others across the country. Continuing education for facilitators will be thriving, ongoing programs for veterans will expand to other geographic areas, first responder and frontline worker programs will be busy and in demand. Programs who support these warriors from all walks of life will grow because demand will increase and we will reach as many people as we can handle in Sharon and our other locations. Most important, research will prove that working with horses is relevant, meaningful and important in the healing work that we all have to do as a nation and in the world. Horses believe in unity and peace. So do we. We would like very much to be a part of that recipe for a better environment in which to raise children and one where we realize that all creatures are sentient beings. There have been sea changes before in our history. We hope this is one of them and we plan to do everything we can to be a part of it.

We have grown substantially in the past five years: from serving 21 vets to 250. We have moved from 1 location in 2013 to 7 by the end of 2019 We have strong relationships with Veterans Administration Healthcare Systems and Veterans Centers in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and Massachusetts We work with the VA as well as with two national Veteran Service Organizations - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Team Red, White and Blue. We are teaching the principles and tools of this program as it applies specifically to business situations at the Entrepreneurs Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). We presented our work to at the 29th Annual International Trauma Conference in 2018. We earn partial support for veterans' tuition by offering our program for a fee to people in the recovery community We would like support in the form of monetary contributions as well as insight and ideas from veterans in leadership positions in the 'Sea of Goodwill'.

External Reviews



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable

Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 07/07/2020


The organization's leader identifies as:

Gender Identity

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
Gender Identity
Male, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability Status
Person without a disability

Race & Ethnicity

Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity Strategies

Last updated: 07/07/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more


We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.

Policies and processes

We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.