The Sandy Hook Tragedy
On December 14, 2012, our world was changed forever. A lone gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook, CT and opened fire. Twenty children and six teachers and administrators lost their lives that day. In the days immediately following, children, families, first responders and members of the community searched for a way to heal from the tragedy that captured world-wide attention.
The very next day, Annette and Brian Sullivan, owners of Zoar Ridge Stables, a horse farm in Sandy Hook, received a phone call from a mother who was wondering if she could bring her children to the farm to find some happiness in the darkness that was shrouded over the community. Annette Sullivan opened up her farm that day and has not closed her doors since. The farm provided the community a safe place for children and their families to come. The Sullivan’s began to use their horses as a means to bring healing to the community. Through Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) and Zoar Ridge Stables, equine assisted psychotherapy has been provided to those affected by the tragedy, free of charge.
Embrace Hope-Sandy Hook Equine Assisted Therapy Foundation was born out of the need to continue to do the work that has already helped many children, families, and members of the community. The foundation uses funds to pay for the facilities and care for the horses for equine assisted mental health programs. It is the foundation’s goal to continue to provide equine assisted therapy free of charge for those in need for decades to come.
In the months since the tragedy, Embrace Hope-Sandy Hook Equine Assisted Therapy Foundation has enabled mental health care providers to work hand in hand with the equine specialists to help heal. The first summer, the Sullivan’s opened up their farm once again to hold a summer camp for the children in the Sandy Hook community.
EAGALA has trained over 8,000 individuals in 41 countries in this experiential modality since its founding in 1999. The program utilizes professionals who use equine assisted therapy to address mental health and human development needs.
Embrace Hope Sandy Hook Equine Assisted Therapy is HIPPA compliant and private. No names of participants will ever be shared with any other organization or institution without the express permission of those involved.