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Hayley Sumner snuggles with Gunner, a therapy horse at Berkshire HorseWorks in Richmond. Berkshire HorseWorks is looking to adapt it offerings, in part through a new partnership.

RICHMOND — Berkshire HorseWorks is seeking to expand the ways it provides relief to those who need it, in part through a three-month partnership that the nonprofit says will bolster its programming.

Since 2013, Berkshire HorseWorks has provided horse-based psychotherapy through the Eagala model, an “evidence-based and experiential” approach rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, said owner Hayley Sumner.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit saw greater mental health needs in the community, but some people needed immediate relief, rather than long-term psychotherapy.

“The need had been voiced to us in a way that was really asking for help but was not necessarily psychotherapy,” Sumner said. “Families were undergoing a lot of anxiety and stress.”

Newer offerings include mindfulness-centered hikes with horses, free-range donkey play and art at the ranch.

Berkshire HorseWorks is midway through a partnership with Inspire, a national nonprofit of volunteer consultants.

The Inspire team is “thrilled to help the organization with their strategic initiatives,” it said in a news release.

In addition to eyeing additional revenue streams and broadening its offerings, Berkshire HorseWorks is seeking to add young professionals to expand its board.

Berkshire HorseWorks can be reached at berkshirehorseworks.com or 413-698-3700.

Danny Jin, a Report for America corps member, is The Eagle's Statehouse news reporter. He can be reached at djin@berkshireeagle.com, @djinreports on Twitter and 413-496-6221.

Statehouse Reporter

Danny Jin is the Eagle's Statehouse reporter. A graduate of Williams College, he previously interned at the Eagle and The Christian Science Monitor. Danny can be reached at djin@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter at @djinreports.