Somatic Engagement with Horses

aka The Equus Effect, Inc.   |   Sharon, CT   |


To provide veterans and first responders with essential tools to rebuild their capacity for healthy, authentic relationships through purposeful engagement with horses.

Ruling year info


Co-Founder, Executive Director

Ms. Jane Alison Strong

Main address

37 Drum Rd

Sharon, CT 06069 USA

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NTEE code info

Mental Health Association, Multipurpose (F80)

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

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

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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 programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

The Equus Effect for Veterans

Our four-session curriculum is designed to introduce the principles of natural horsemanship as a way to help vets gain the trust, respect and willingness to collaborate from those with whom they live and work. We and our equine partners demonstrate the value of using finesse vs. force and cooperation vs. control.

We also educate our veteran students with life-changing insight and information around managing their emotions. We augment and enhance our experiential work with an Emotional Agility presentation that is approachable, engaging and incredibly useful.

We believe that if veterans can learn to use emotions the way horses do – as information to help them stay alive, set healthy boundaries, support one another in times of need – there would be no need to stay stuck in stories about the past or future.

We learn about being present from our horses – especially those who never had the time or tools available to unwind and renew their reserves of emotional and mental energy.

Population(s) Served
Emergency responders
Military personnel
Substance abusers

Families who have lost their sons or daughters and ones whose children are in harm's way spend a great deal of time sadness, grief and worry.

We and our horses provide invaluable tools to settle these men and women down and offer tools to help them build their capacity to handle whatever comes next. No one can change the past or the future, but if we offer real time education and experience that goes far beyond words, parents and spouses find both peace and resourcefulness through our work.

Population(s) Served

This program is for those who are ready and willing to deal with the futility of self-medicating through drugs, alcohol and other compulsive behaviors.

Working with horses demands emotional honesty and a willingness to face fears and vulnerability. It also takes patience and focus to cultivate the clarity of intention that horses require in order to gain their trust.

By developing relationship skills that are necessary to stay sober and become contributing members of society, veterans and others in recovery find a new lens through which to view the future...natually.

We have offered our curriculum to men and women in recovery from a local treatment center for the past 18 months and these programs help offset the cost of working with veterans free of charge. We understand from the clinicians at this facility that our work is a great complement for what they teach about accountability and taking on challenges as a means to stay sober.
In addition, we are initiating a program specifically for veterans who have a history of substance abuse, which is often their first line of defense against the difficulty of making the journey from war to peace.

We are very aware of the fact that learning how to manage one's emotions, set boundaries and create healthy relationships is the greatest insurance against returning to drugs and alcohol.

Population(s) Served

A training program for new facilitators who want to deliver this unique, comprehensive curriculum. New facilitators gain expertise in the facilitation skills required to work with a broad range of populations.

Our training program is essential to the growth of The Equus Effect for two reasons:
It offsets the costs associated with our veterans and first responders programs

It is key for us to broaden our reach as the VA/Yale are funding a pilot study to measure the results of our work and expect us to provide additional test sites in 2023-24.

Population(s) Served
Military personnel
Emergency responders
People with psychosocial disabilities

In response to the current crisis facing us in the US and around the world, we are offering the same tools and experiential learning we employ with veterans and first responders to the men and women who are serving on the frontlines at home. We understand the similarities and differences between soldiers and healthcare workers and are addressing the needs of those in our communities with an adaptation of our program that is delivered in a more flexible format for those who are currently employed.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Veterans Administration SPiRE Grant 2019

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

NATIONAL ACCESS - The VA and Yale University are launching a 16-week pilot study to better understand the impact of our curriculum on a trans-diagnostic sample of veterans. Their request to us and our aim is to open more test sites and eventually, 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 MILITARY FAMILIES - IN 2021, we began offering our program to Blue and Gold Star Families. We provided resilience tools to offset the worry and grief that is central to the lives of these families and every person who came to work with us said that our program did just that. Our next goal for 2022-23 is to include the spouses of active duty military personnel because we have learned that the divorce rate among these people is far above the national average, particularly within the ranks of the special forces. These curricula 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.

FIRST RESPONDERS - These men and women have also experienced significant increases in levels of stress due to the pandemic and the divisions within our country about the role of law enforcement. We started offering our curriculum to First Responders in 2021, and plan to continue to expand that offering in 2022-23 or for as long as we know they can use our tools for resilience and renewal.

FRONTLINE WORKERS - In 2020, we began to offer our curriclum to frontline healthworkers and are now doing so for mental health clinicians who are serving those who serve. 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.

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 all of 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 fully intend to do so.

Our strategies include:

TRAINING - Train more facilitators who are qualified to work with veterans, first responders, young people and whoever they feel qualified to serve across the country. 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 for weekend retreats so that we can spend more concentrated time with couples, families, clincians and those who sacrifice for those who serve.

This would also allow us to train more facilitators here at our location, offer workshops for clinicians and continue to serve more active duty military whose schedules require more flexibility on our part. their families. Revenue generating programs for people not in uniform would add at least $15,000 to our tuition fund for veterans.

We now have 16 facilitators who have graduated from our training program and we are developing a course for them to train other trainer across the country.

We are hosting a research pilot study through the VA and Yale that is scheduled to begin in July 2022. 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 now have six that are suitable and will be looking for more as the country continues its process of opening up.

We have also been invited to present our program and preliminary results from this research study at the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Int'l (P.A.T.H. Int'l) conference in St. Louis this October. We are planning to use this venue and exposure to enhance our appeal to potential trainees in other parts of the country.

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 move into other geographic areas.

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 have grown substantially in the past 10 years:
from serving 21 vets in 2012, to over 1,500 men and women in uniform who serve or support those who serve us here and abroad.

We have moved from 1 location in 2013 to 8 at the end of 2021

We have strong relationships with Veterans Administration Healthcare
Systems and Veterans Centers in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts

We work with the VA as well as with two national Veteran Service Organizations - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and Team Red, White and Blue (RWB)

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) provided by the University of Connecticut Graduate School of Business.

We presented our work to at the 29th Annual International Trauma Conference in 2018.

We earn partial support for veterans' tuition by offering fee-based programs 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'.



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


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Board of directors
as of 06/04/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Patricia Ganey

The Next Step, LLC

Term: 2021 - 2024

Patty Ganey

The Next Step, LLC

Susan Filan


Dawn Stern


Towne Allen


Lindley Young


Mimi Estes


Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/15/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


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

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/07/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. 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.