Eagala’s November Spotlight Member
Niki Markogianni, of Hippolysis in Attika, Greece, runs her Eagala program with only volunteers.
“They give from their heart, whatever they can, so that the farm can continue to be a living core of learning, development and therapy for everyone who visits.”
What do you love about being an Eagala member?
Eagala gave me the opportunity to combine two great loves of my life, psychiatry/psychotherapy and horses.
Very early in my life, rescuing horses became a mission for me.
Horses that stood no chance in the riding world seemed to find me to rehabilitate them. I tried to find a way for them to stay alive.
After training in the Eagala Model, I started with my team, Danai Marneris, Horse vet and trainer, Chrysa Baxevanidi, Maggie Vlachochristou and Pigi Georganda, to train these horses in order for them to reach their full potential; to help people understand human difficulties and working towards their solution.
We started with a team of horses that became our great masters. Over the years, four of them became unicorns and are still helping us. Another three are still with us as veterans of the original team. The newcomers adjust to the environment and learn from our veteran herd members and from us.
Horses, donkeys and humans work as a team of equals (four-leggeds have more privileges than two-leggeds;-).
All of us humans at Hippolysis are happily surprised every day by the work of our four-legged therapists. What we really love is the way they interact and save peoples lives.
Although we do not understand how they do it, we see it happening in front of our eyes every day. This is the greatest reward we could hope for after all the effort and struggles with the financial problems. It’s what keeps us going.
Our journey on the business side of things…
Our center was established during a financially difficult time for Greece. Today’s circumstances are even more challenging with the pandemic. Being a nonprofit organization, it has been the love and perseverance of the volunteers and the donations which have helped us go forward. The dream is for our center to become self-sustained by the sessions offered.
We work with individuals, families, groups and corporate clients offering sessions for learning, growth and development, team building, leadership, strategy, crisis management and therapies.
The feedback to date has all been positive and we consider this a success.
Since the beginning (11 years ago) we have been featured on TV, radio stations, magazines and newspapers. We have participated in the international hippotherapy congress presenting the Eagala Model, in the international drama therapy and the international art therapy congress, all of which took place in Athens.
We were also invited to the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) in Oslo to present our way of training racehorses to become therapists.
“The horse pushes us to reconnect with the wisdom that lies within us.”
How are you making an impact?
It is the horses! They are magic! They understand and guide.
We as facilitators follow what the horses as therapists tell us by observing their reactions and posing clear questions related to the situation.
People come to us and most of the time they don’t tell us what they are working on. The observation and clear language used during the sessions have amazing results.
Some people just cry, some come to realizations saying “Oh! I understand now!”.
Others in subsequent sessions will say “I didn’t understand anything, but something has changed. I function differently. I’m not affected by situations that used to be a problem for me”.
“For me, it was one of the most revealing self-awareness experiences I have ever sensed. I feel that horses will help me see clearly into myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” – A Happy Client
An interesting story.
A 50 year old woman came to us to work with the horses. She seemed very confident in the way she carried herself. A horse chose to work with her.
She stood there holding and touching the horse. The horse was touching her with soft movements, insisting at the area under her arm.
At a point the lady said “This is not right. This has nothing to do with me “ and she left.
Two weeks later she returned and told us a story…
She said “I went to my therapist and told him this story with the horses – that it is nonsense because the horse that came to help me insisted on telling me that I have lots of shame inside me.
Before finishing my sentence, my therapist, who is usually very detached and calm, jumped up from his chair and said loudly ...“Thank god for the horse! For 4 years I’m trying to make you understand that all your behavior is based on your need to hide your shame”.
As it turns out, she had been a nudist when she was young, extroverted and outspoken. The therapist presumed the shame she felt was because of the way she had lived her life as a young person.
She came back again to work with the horses.
After a while with the horses, she looked up with a surprised look on her face and tears in her eyes.
She shared the important piece of the puzzle that came together for her – something that had been missing all her life.
She realized that this shame was not a personal shame, but the shame that ran in her family for generations as a result of her great grandfather who had committed a crime.
She had never consciously understood that this was affecting her. It was much deeper.
After the horses revealed this information, she recognized that all her life she had been struggling to succeed in order to “correct” what had happened in her family.
She came back and worked with the horses several times. Happily, she resigned from her very stressful job, and at last she is now enjoying life!
“ It is the horses! They are magic! “
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Eagala Member Spotlight aims to feature our Eagala Certified Member programs to bring awareness to the powerful work our members are doing and to celebrate their successes! If you and your Eagala program would like to be considered for our monthly Spotlight, click here to submit. We look forward to hearing from you!