Blue Star in the News!
Since it’s inception almost a decade ago, Blue Star Equiculture has been making headlines in New England for its unique mission and operational model. There’s no place quite like it.
Several of our most recent feature stories!
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FEATURED ON MASSLIVE.COM 2/10/18 – WINTERFEST IN EASTHAMPTON MA
Rescued Draft Horses Help Inner-City Youth On Friday, November 17, 10am–12pm, four majestic draft horses rescued by Blue Star Equiculture (BSE) will visit teens in the Vocational & Link Program at Springfield High School of Science & Technology (SciTech). This marks the launch of an equine therapy program for inner-city youth with special needs and at-risk teens enrolled in Springfield Public Schools.
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fequiculture%2Fposts%2F10154775481905881&width=500This grass-roots initiative was created through a partnership between BSE president and co-founder Pam Rickenbach and SciTech Fresh Start Program Coordinator/Educator Stefan Davis. The program is being funded by I Found Light Against All Odds, a Springfield-based nonprofit, founded by Davis in 2016.
SciTech teens will learn how to harness and take turns ground-driving two adult draft horses (each weighing in at 2000+ pounds) while two very sociable baby Clydesdales will be on hand to help students relax and get comfortable with being in the company of huge horses.
“Horses have a profound effect on humans,” states BSE president and co-founder Pam Rickenbach. “Equine therapy programs in the United States and in the United Kingdom have realized tremendous success with inner-city adolescents – whether they have a social, mental, physical or an emotional handicap. We’re confident we can achieve the same success right here in Western Massachusetts.”
“At equine therapy programs like Compton Jr. Posse in Los Angeles,” writes NY Times contributor Charles Siebert, “inner-city adolescents find a refuge from drugs and street-gang culture by developing equestrian skills and learning to regard the knowing gazes of 1,000-plus-pound horses and guide their beguiling power.” Compton Jr. Posse founder Mayisha Akbar adds, “When you’re around a horse, the energy is so powerful that it tunes the body up.”
“It has been established that the tactile element alone in Animal therapy releases endorphins, so called feel-good hormones that counteract the trauma hormones of adrenaline and cortisol,” writes Siebert. “But Neuroscience is also revealing the ways in which the brain’s neural networks can be both experientially marred and therapeutically mended.”
In the UK, Operation Centaur deploys endangered Shire horses as co-therapists in equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning. Dr Andreas Liefooghe, a leading exponent of the discipline, has taken on wildly different cases, including Junior, an 11 year old with autism, Charlene, an alcoholic, Billy, a disturbed pupil who has been expelled from school for bullying, and Suzanne, who has been convicted of GBH (grievous bodily harm).
Prince Charles, a strong proponent of equine therapy states: “Words cannot do justice to what people experience when they find themselves face to face with a huge horse that weighs over a ton…teaching that strength lies in collaboration, while leadership potential resides in us all.”
Blue Star Equiculture is a nonprofit (501c3) draft horse sanctuary established in 2009 on a leased property in Palmer, Massachusetts. Over the years, BSE has rescued over 500 retired, disabled and homeless urban, farming, logging, pack and police horses.
I Found Light Against All Odds is a nonprofit (501c3) that provides high risk youth and families with tools and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty, desperation and dependence that dominates their lives, enabling them to become contributing members of our community by using the magic of television, telling their stories about finding light.
PRESS CONTACTS: Pam Rickenbach, Blue Star Equiculture | (413) 813-2000 | Pamela@equiculture.org
Stephan Davis, SciTech | (413) 505-4629 | Daviss@springfieldpublicschools.com
Carol de Carlo, CamelotHot Communications | (413) 265-0891 | CamelotHot@comcast.net
———————————————————————The Promised Land.