August 2020

Increased Funding for Equine-Assisted Therapies for Veterans 


This past month, Congressman Andy Barr (KY), a longterm advocate of equine-assisted psychotherapy, worked with Congress to pass an amendment that will increase funding for equine-assisted therapies, including Eagala Model equine-assisted psychotherapy services. "This important funding will help ensure that veterans in Kentucky and across the country have increased access to equine-assisted therapy programs through the VA, giving them a non-traditional, innovative and alternative approach to healing."

We are so grateful for advocates like Congressman Barr, whose dedication to increasing access to equine-assisted therapies for Veterans will pave the way to broadened inclusion and support for all community members seeking access to these transformative modalities. 

This funding supports Eagala and its Military Designated Service Providers like Gateway HorseWorks in collecting pre and post-test data on participating clients. Once collected, the researchers will preform a retrospective analysis, further advancing the field of equine-assisted psychotherapy as an evidence-based approach. This funding bolsters access not only to Veterans but to all people who can benefit from this somatic and trauma-informed mental health intervention. 

Thank you, Congressman Barr, for providing an example of leadership and demonstrating how policy can fundamentally impact our communities and their access to mental health care. 


Our Barn Manager, Marine Tom Thorpe speaking with Congressman Barr at the Eagala 2020 Conference. 

Welcome New Board Member,

Trina Kadakia!

Trina is a Villanova Graduate who has worked in brand management at Johnson & Johnson for the past seven years across both Consumer Healthcare and the Pharmaceutical industry. In her work it became increasingly clear that across medical conditions mental health is often the underlying common thread, and yet our complex healthcare environment makes it the least addressed & the least inclusive for the patients who need it the most. 

With a fierce belief that all patients should be able to access the care & support they need, Trina instantly connected to the Gateway HorseWorks mission & vision. We are so inspired by her passion, enthusiasm, and advocacy to create more inclusive and accessible spaces for all in healthcare! 


How did you first get connected with Gateway HorseWorks?

 I was lucky enough to be paired with Gateway in my first consulting project with an organization called, Compass Pro Bono Consulting. In my first meeting with Kristen on the farm I was instantly drawn to what she wanted to do: drive inclusive mental health solutions for ALL patients and make Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) a broadly recognized & reimbursable tool in the overall mental health toolbox. As someone who’s worked in brand strategy across consumer & pharmaceutical categories for years, I’ve always tried to put patients & their needs at the center. The DNA of Gateway is patients – and especially propelled by what’s happening in our world following the murder of George Floyd, Gateway has always put accessibility first, and accessibility for marginalized, oppressed patients who disproportionately lack the means to secure the mental health treatment they need. It comes down to the increasing importance of mental health, and ensuring that all who seek it, can get it in the way they may uniquely need it. Kristen’s vision, to me, was bigger than horses and EAP, it was about humanity.

What excites you most about working with Gateway HorseWorks?

It’s no surprise to anyone that our world is drastically changing, and that healthcare as we know it is evolving, accelerated by COVID-19. I’ve had the privilege to work directly with chronic illness patients, and it’s clear that across medical conditions – no matter the physical symptom or diagnosis – mental health is often the underlying common thread. And yet our complex healthcare environment makes it the least addressed & least inclusive for the patients who need it most. For the first time on a massive scale, the inequities in our healthcare system and the increasing rise in mental illness are being acknowledged and addressed. I want to help Gateway HorseWorks lead the way in accessibility of innovative mental healthcare, leveraging the power of patient advocacy & an enthused, passionate community.

What were you most surprised to learn about EAP?

Everything! I am so new to the world of animal-assisted psychotherapy – I do think there was some foreshadowing in my childhood, as I had a horseback riding 5th birthday party! As I continue to dig into this space and learn from the experts here at Gateway HorseWorks, I am moved by the stories of transformation. I never thought about how difficult it can be for patients who’ve experienced trauma to trust people again, or to feel free from judgment or bias – and how intimidating something like talk therapy with a stranger might be. The healing relationships horses can provide through metaphor, free from judgment, is unique and provides another option, stand-alone or supplementary to more traditional methods, for those who might need it.

What might we be most surprised to learn about you? 

I am actually a certified Bharatanatyam guru, or teacher (traditional Indian dance)!

Herd Highlight: Disney


Disney is an absolute natural at Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. While every member of our herd is a skilled at sessions, it is clear that Disney has found a profound calling in bringing support and metaphor to our clients' mental health journeys. Whenever a group arrives on the farm, Disney is fully engaged. Rescued originally by Thorncroft Equestrian Center, our Board Member Lisa Carraway ensured this special horse could continue to serve our clients forever. With two blue eyes, Disney's unique look along with a healthy dose of seasoned curiosity draws our clients and visitors in to each session. We feel so grateful to have Disney as a permanent member of our four-legged treatment team and are fulfilled in witnessing just how much Disney enjoys being with our clients. 


Thank you for your support


Thank you to DLL Financial Solutions members for supporting our sessions serving essential workers! 

We have been humbled to be able to serve essential workers in our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. So many clinical and nonclinical staff members at regional hospitals have been able to access our innovative mental health services at no cost because of donations like yours. 

join us on social Media