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Horses helping first responders | Everyday Heroes

Hooves and halters provide a new kind of therapy at Freedom Equine Connection in Dixon.

DIXON, Calif. — Everyday Heroes are all around us and ABC10 wants to highlight the work they do. Every week our viewer nominates people and organizations making a difference in our community.  

This week we want to introduce you to Denise and Jim Wilson. They run Freedom Equine Connection a nonprofit therapy group in Dixon.  

The Equine Therapy is a division of the 10-33 foundation which is a crisis intervention service for first responders. 

Jim Wilson said they work with first responders across the spectrum - from police to firefighters and medical staff. Traditional horse therapy involves riding, but the Wilsons use a ground-based treatment using a method called Eagala. 

“Which consists of a Mental health professional, an equine specialist and the horses,” Denise Wilson said, adding that the idea behind Eagala is that people learn best by doing.

Participants are given a horse and told to do different tasks with little instructions. That task could be as simple as "keep the horse away from food." 

“We don’t tell them how to do it," Wilson said, "So they have to problem solve and when the problem solve they come up with their own solutions."

The horse and human tasks reflect what the participant is struggling with. The Wilsons say the participant’s problem solving with the horse can be translated in real life. 

Freedom Equine Connection is open to everyone, even if traditional therapy has failed. 

The team at Freedom Equine Connections are Everyday Heroes. You can learn more about what they do on their website. To do, click here. 

If you want to nominate an Everyday Hero email John Bartell jbartell@abc10.com

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