Berkshire HorseWorks reopens, adds focus on post-lockdown wellness

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RICHMOND — Berkshire HorseWorks, which specializes in outdoor activities with horses so people can engage in mental health wellness, has reopened to the public.

It has opened its facility, implementing social distancing, the use of masks and hand-sanitizer, and sanitizing facilities before and after appointments.

"Everyone is hurting on so many levels. We would be remiss if we hadn't found a way to offer our services and activities in the `new normal,'" said Hayley Sumner, founder and executive director of Berkshire HorseWorks.

Sumner said Berkshire HorseWorks has "devised new programming both for those with mental health needs and also for friends, visitors and families who are looking for something fun, safe and challenging to do outdoors."

"All precautions mandated by the governor are in place to move forward and have people come out to the ranch," Sumner said.

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Berkshire HorseWorks specializes in EAGALA Model Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine-Assisted Team Building. A nonprofit corporation founded in 2013, it operates on its seven-acre property in Richmond.

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With a focus on Equine-Assisted Team Building for international corporations, school districts and state agencies, Berkshire HorseWorks uses equine-assisted psychotherapy to facilitate change and is a modality for individuals, couples or groups working on a specific treatment goal.

The organization aims to help families looking to work on their communication to people needing socializing after being cooped up due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Berkshire HorseWorks also has equine-assisted team building available for both families and companies looking to create cohesion, reinforce teamwork and explore group dynamics before returning to school or the office.

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Berkshire HorseWorks has also created specific programming to support health care workers and their families through its Healers and Horses workshop. Designed for those working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, this program will provide support to those facing the worst of these unprecedented circumstances.

The group also has added programs for individuals and families needing a break from confinement, such as Family Team Building, Yoga in the Paddocks, Hikes with Horses, Free-Range Donkey Play, Art at the Ranch, birthday parties and trail ride experiences with picnics on the property are also available.

Despite the closures of major performance venues this year the ranch will be open throughout the summer and fall. All services integrating horses in mounted and non-mounted activities are open to the public on a sliding scale and are booked by appointment only.

Berkshire HorseWorks' sessions are by appointment only. For more information, email or call 310-488-9777.


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