Equine Assisted World with Rupert Isaacson

In this the Pilot Episode of Equine Assisted World, our host Rupert Isaacson - known for Horse Boy Method, Movement Method and ATHENA - takes us through how the world of equine therapies has transformed itself in the last two decades from something aimed primarily at physical disability and adaptive riding, to the current mosaic of approaches for neuro-psychiatric, emotional, clinical, and medical conditions.

What are the best practices? How can we identify them? How do we navigate this increasingly complex world through it's exciting and sometimes confusing development?

Rupert also tells the story of how he himself became involved in the equine assisted world, primarily through the journeys on horseback with his autistic son. That led to his own exploration of how horses can heal neuro-psychiatric challenges. We also look ahead to some of the exiting figures that we will be interviewing in this first season.

Join us for this Pilot and remember to subscribe and share! 

What is Equine Assisted World with Rupert Isaacson?

Here on Equine Assisted World. We look at the cutting edge and the best practices currently being developed and, established in the equine assisted field. This can be psychological, this can be neuropsych, this can be physical, this can be all of the conditions that human beings have that these lovely equines, these beautiful horses that we work with, help us with.

Your Host is New York Times bestselling author Rupert Isaacson. Long time human rights activist, Rupert helped a group of Bushmen in the Kalahari fight for their ancestral lands. He's probably best known for his autism advocacy work following the publication of his bestselling book "The Horse Boy" and "The Long Ride Home" where he tells the story of finding healing for his autistic son. Subsequently he founded New Trails Learning Systems an approach for addressing neuro-psychiatric conditions through horses, movement and nature. The methods are now used around the world in therapeutic riding program, therapy offices and schools for special needs and neuro-typical children.

 You can find details of all our programs and shows on www.RupertIsaacson.com.

Rupert Isaacson: Welcome
to Equine Assisted World.

I'm your host, Rupert Isaacson.

New York Times bestselling
author of the Horse Boy.

Founder of New Trails Learning
Systems and long ride home.com.

You can find details of all our programs
and shows on Rupert isaacson.com.

Here on Equine Assisted World.

We look at the cutting edge and the best
practices currently being developed and,

established in the equine assisted field.

This can be psychological, this
can be neuropsych, this can be

physical, this can be all of the
conditions that human beings have.

These lovely equines, these beautiful
horses that we work with, help us with.

Thank you for being part of the adventure
and we hope you enjoy today's show

Welcome to Equine Assisted World.

This is your host, Rupert Isaacson.

Some of you may already know me from
my book and film The Horse Boy, , which

told the story of how I and my autistic
then very severely autistic son Rowan,

traveled across Mongolia, , in search
of healing on horseback because he had

become, In the saddle in front of me.

and then a subsequent book called
The Long Ride Home, which talked

about, , three further journeys that
we made in Africa and in the Australian

rainforest and in the Navajo Reservation.

, again, looking for healing
and , finding it, that's the

irrational side of what we do.

What happened was there
was a rational side as.

When it became very clear to me that it
was certain rhythms on the horse that was

getting first Rowan, and then more and
more and more other kids, communicating.

And , the brain just seemed to come on.

, I went to neuroscientists in some
different countries and said, please,

can you explain why this is working?


Explanations that they gave me, which were
to do with the activation of oxytocin,

the feel good, and, neuro, neuro calming
and communication hormone in the body.

And that followed by the triggering
of a protein in the brain called

B D N F, brain derived neurot.

Factor, which is the Lego
piece, if you like, the building

blocks of neuroplasticity.

Well, we then realized we could
replicate what we were doing and now.

Many of you may know that we have, a
practice called Horse Boy Method, which

is an equine assisted practice, a practice
called Movement Method, which is done

giving the same results without horses.

And something called Athena,
which delivers it in a similar

way, but for adults with trauma.

so that's really how I fell into
this world and , what I notice is

in the 15 years or so that we've
been doing it, the whole world of

equine assisted interventions, If
you like, equine assisted human

development has grown exponentially.

When I first got into this, , there
was really just therapeutic riding and

hippotherapy, and the therapeutic riding
was largely and still is largely aimed

at people with physical disabilities.

, because.

The history of it was that after World
War ii, there were many people who came

back from the war to family run riding
schools because they tended to be run by

ex calvary officers who'd come out of the
military and did that in their retirement.

And these guys were coming back
with missing limbs and that sort

of thing, and they wanted to ride.

And they found that with adapted riding
techniques, they could indeed do that.

And this, of course, became
therapeutic riding for the disabled.

This has been very, very successful and
sort of dominated the scene for some

decades, and then Hippotherapy came.

Another very good approach, which
is looking at it from a slightly

more neurological point of view.

and that has been very successful.

However, the massive upsurge in
the last 20 years or so of people

with autism and people with other
neuropsychiatric, conditions, I don't

want to say disabilities and disorders
because what we've found is that

actually these are perfectly viable
ways of going through life and one

can even be actually very successful,
with many of these conditions.

But there are skillsets that
need to be learned as well.

But the message, massive upsurge in
these conditions has created a whole

bunch of new approaches, and it can be.

Confusing when you're looking
at it from the outside.

Well, now, gosh, it's, it's this
whole mosaics, it's like a universe.

It's like there's therapeutic riding over
here with Path International and there's

the Hippotherapy people and there's the
Horse boy people, and there's the Igar

people and there's the Okay corral people
and there's these other, , approaches

and these other approaches and these
other approaches of equine interventions.

And how do I choose, how do
I know which is right for me?

How do I know which is right for my child?

If I'm a professional, where
might I decide to get involved?

Maybe I want to do a range
of different approaches.

Then of course, I noticed very quickly,
and this was made me rather sad.

as a parent of an autistic child, was that
these worlds were very, very factional.

often the different groups were
somewhat at odds with each other

and often quite viciously at odds
with each other, really bad mouthing

each other and that sort of thing.

And, even factions within,
some of the interventions.

And this made me sad because I
thought, well, gosh, you know, surely

we're all here for the same reason.

Surely we're all here to, you know, try
to, make better a challenging situation.


Get into equine assisted work to get rich.

I mean, that's, you know, if you're
gonna do that, just go to law school.

so everyone is in here
for the right reasons.

so with this podcast,
Equine assisted world.

What we are doing is we are looking
at all of the interventions and we're

looking to find the best practices, the
stuff that's really on the cutting edge.

We're looking at the science, we're
looking at the studies, but we're

also looking at what just seems to
work for people on the ground and

where people's passions lie and how
the whole world is developing in.

Interesting and
dispassionate sort of a way.

We're not on one side and
we're not on the other side.

We are as interested in the, physical,
interventions as we are in the

emotional and psychiatric interventions.

We are as interested in the ones that
are unmounted as we are interested

in the ones that are done unmounted.

We are interested in the ones
that are done with TAC and the

ones that are done without tac.

There is no faction to which we belong.

Equine assisted world is here to look
at this entire world and help those of

us who are interested and fascinated
by this amazing work to discern where

the really interesting stuff lies.

So, what's our approach here?

, Equine assisted world more and
more is no longer looking at, if

you like the client base as saying
you are a problem to be fixed.

That is something that
really belongs to the past.

I think what we are looking for
here is how do we enhance someone's

existing awesomeness and at the
same time give them new skills.

So let's take me for example, you know,
Rupert, okay, well I now live in.

So I have to learn some German.

This doesn't mean that I have to give
up being born an England Englishman.

And this doesn't mean that it's
a bad thing to be an Englishman.

it just simply means that I can be an
Englishman who also learns to speak

German, or I can be a neurotypical
person who also has a driving license.

Or I can be somebody that
learns how to scuba dive, you

know, something like this.

If we take this sort of approach and
more and more people in the equine

assisted world are doing this, then
instead of going at conditions as

if they are some sort of enemy,
some sort of dragon to slay, what

we are doing is we actually honor.

The, often the superpowers that
come along with many of these

conditions take autism, for example.

There are many gifts of autism, but you
have to be a little bit on the inside

of it to really know what they are.

There's this incredible ability to focus.

There's this wonderful, , ability to not
judge yourself next to other people, which

creates a very quiet ego, which means.


People with autism, particularly classic
autism, really turn their attention

to something they're often extremely
effective at it because they're not

having to listen to a silly little voice
in their head telling them they're not

as good as the person at the next desk.

being neurotypical isn't
a holy grail at all.

there are plenty of neurotypical
people disappearing down bottles

and jumping off bridges and.

Beating up their wives and kids
and that sort of thing because

of this horrible little voice in
their head, constantly telling us

that then they're not good enough.

So we want to honor the
advantages of each condition.

As well as look squarely at.

Okay, well, perhaps, it is necessary
to learn how to interact with the world.

It is necessary to learn how to
get control of your emotions.

It is necessary to, if you are
physically compromised, to get as

much range of movement as you possibly
can for your health and wellbeing.

but we're not telling you to
be any different to who you.

so we're gonna be interviewing people who
are really at the leading edge of this.

who have we got coming up for you?

, we've got the amazing Joel Dunlap.

If you don't know who she is in the,
equine assisted world, you should,

her square peg foundation in Northern
California started with autism.

and then, Branching out into just about
every area of neuropsychiatric work and

is now, , a certified health provider of
San Mateo County, which is Silicon Valley,

, for those of you know, the area with,
and she's creating multiple campuses.

And she bootstrapped this, , from
standing in a field with some quirky

clients while she was just trying to
run a writing school and has brought

this to, , an international community,
, and is now working with, , scientists

and, , doctors and, , all sorts of
interesting people to create better.

, for people all over the usa.

, she also interestingly does this largely
with off the track thoroughbreds and

rehabs these guys into the therapeutic
work in ways that you would think

would not be possible given that
a lot of the work is done mounted.

How's she doing this?

Well, she's gonna tell us, we're also
gonna talk, , to the amazing joy o'.

Of, , red Barn in Alabama, , who
deals a lot with trauma

work, , works very closely with.

The Polyvagal Institute, equine
Polyvagal Institute, and, , JC Dugard.

Some of you may know JC Dugard.

She was abducted, , as a teenager and
kept as a sex slave, , for a couple

of decades and then escaped, , and now
has an amazing foundation, dealing

with trauma and forgiveness and
recovery and resilience and this work.

At Red Barn goes very, very closely with
this, in an equine assisted manner.

Absolutely fascinating work.

We're gonna be talking with, dr.

Megan McGavin of Virginia, , is a

very successful doctor on the East
coast in Virginia, , who happens to

also have a very severely autistic.

Who, it wasn't just autism, it was,
it was physical failure to thrive.

And she has started, , a really
extraordinary, , program there.

not just dealing with autism
now, but dealing with all sorts

of other, , related issues.

And she brings the
medical perspective to it.

And she's also very active in the medical
conference world, bringing the work

that we do in equine intervention out
to the medical mainstream and getting

more and more doctors, , referring
clients to, , equine assisted centers.

Absolutely amazing work.

, we're gonna be heading over to Ireland,
, to talk to Terry Brosnan of Child

Vision in Dublin, , where they work.

It started with just
visually impaired kids.

, then it moved.

Kids who were visually impaired
with autism, and then it moved to

kids who were visually impaired
with autism and other , physic.

, challenges and now it's
absolutely everybody.

, and she's right there in the middle
of the inner city, , in a place called

Drum condre serving the kids who are
coming out of apartments in the, , less

moneyed end of Dublin, who would never
normally get access to this stuff.

, with an incredible team.

How's she doing it?

What's she.

We're gonna be talking
with Alex Vaughn, Dr.

Alex Vaughn, who's fascinating man.

He's, he is a half German, half
American ardian, in fact, soldier.

Well, psychologist, for the German army,
the Bundes Fair, but he also works very

closely with the US Air Force, with their
veterans coming back from, hot zones and

working with them and their families.

And we are gonna be talking about the,
the healing and resilience and trauma work

that they do, with these personnel, both
in Germany and in, the USA and many more.

what's the.

Okay, we're gonna do
this as a double whammy.

First we're just gonna interview these
people and find out who they are, what

they do, how they evolved, what they do,
and where they want to take it from here.

But then we're gonna do a follow
up interview with each person in

which you can ask them questions.

And a certain number of you we're
gonna c invite to come on live.

You can ask your questions live
and everyone else, you can, email

your questions in and, we are gonna
have them answer your questions.


So this is gonna be
absolutely fascinating.

So there's a follow up for each interview.

so why listen to Equine Assisted World?

Well, are you already an equine
professional looking to get

into the equine assisted world?

And you're just confused by
the array of choice out there.

, are you already an equine assisted
professional looking for just more

development in your profession?

And again, just looking for what's, what's
out there on the leading edge, so that

you can develop your practice even better.

Are you a parent?

Are you a carer?

Are you a therapist?

No matter who you are in this
rather like me, and you're just

interested, you're going to learn
from these people, what's out there.

And crucially how we can take some
of this work and apply it not just

with the horses, but give it to
people to take home into their daily

lives, to apply even without the
horse and how that crosses over.

Okay, so that's equine assisted world.

We hope you're gonna join
us on this journey into this

fascinating, fascinating universe.

Don't forget to look us up on ntls.co.

That's where you'll find Horse
Boy Method Movement Method Athena.

And we're gonna be feature.

All of the people that we're
talking to as well on there.

And also long ride home.com, which
is our Shamanism Personal Development

and horse training website.

And of course we are gonna be giving
you the links to everybody that we're

interviewing so that you can follow
up with them directly yourself.

Also, check out our other podcast,
live Free, ride Free, in which we

talk to people who are managing
to lead self-actualized lives,

doing things that everyone said
you couldn't do for a living.

Fascinating people over on that one.

come with us on the adventure.

thank you for joining us.

We hope you enjoyed today's podcast.

Join our website, new trails
learning.com, to check out our online

courses and live workshops in Horse Boy
Method, movement Method, and Athena.

These evidence-based programs have
helped children, veterans, and people

dealing with trauma around the world.

We also offer a horse training
program and self-care program

for riders on long ride home.com.

These include easy to do online
courses and tutorials that

bring you and your horse joy.

For an overview of all shows and
programs, go to rupert isaacson.com.

See you on the next show.

And please remember to
press, subscribe and share.