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Equine Education Center

The Equine Education Center is located within the Crescent J Ranch. The center is staffed by Dr. Sandra Wise, Licensed Psychologist, and Dean Van Camp, Equine Specialist. This center houses two programs: The Florida Cracker Horse Training Program and “Eye of a Horse,” an equine-assisted learning/psychotherapy program.

Florida Cracker Horse Training Program

The Florida Cracker Horse Training Program was established to train and manage the Crescent J Ranch’s large herd of Spanish Colonial horses. The history of these horses in the United States began in 1521 when Juan Ponce de León brought the first cattle and horses to Florida to establish a colony. These Spanish Colonial horses have been in Florida ever since. Now named the Florida Cracker horse, this special horse, with its natural herding ability, smaller frame, and agile athleticism, played an integral part in the early history of Florida, which was built on cattle ranching. An important part of the horse training program’s mission, as related to the Allen Broussard Conservancy, is to maintain those historical ranching traditions established almost 500 years ago with the original Spanish Colonial horses.

Cracker Horses on the Crescent J Ranch Cracker Horse Herd at Forever Florida
Florida Cracker horses in their natural
setting at the Crescent J Ranch
Cracker Horse Herd

These special horses are pasture bred and born on the Crescent J Ranch, which owns the largest herd of registered Florida Cracker horses in Florida, and, therefore, in the world. At The Equine Education Center the Cracker horses are trained to be working ranch horses, in addition to being available for sale to the public. Because of their unique natural history, this breed has retained a strong survival instinct, unlike many other breeds of domesticated horses, which have been subjected to selective breeding programs. This survival instinct makes the Cracker horse uniquely qualified for our equine-assisted learning/psychotherapy programs, which require a fine-tuned sensitivity to the environment and to human interactions.

"Eye of a Horse" Program

“Eye of a Horse” Equine-Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy Programs offer to the public personal growth/ learning experiences and mental health programs which are facilitated by the use of horses and supervised by a licensed psychologist and an equine specialist. The equine-assisted programs are conducted on the ground, with no riding involved and no need for prior experience with horses. The programs include:

Equine-Assisted Learning Programs: These programs are available for many different populations, including individuals, couples, families, athletic teams, corporate groups and organizations. Learning experiences may focus on issues such as relationships, communication, life transitions, improving self-confidence, conflict-resolution, or skill-building. Group experiences are available for leadership and team-building.

Equine Assisted Learning Father and Daughter Equine Assisted Confidence Building
A father and daughter share an equine-assisted learning session. The interactions with the horses facilitate his exploration and assessment of the protective nature of his relationship with his daughter. In this confidence-building equine-assisted learning session, Samantha receives a hug from “Little Red” as on-lookers Paco and Toby await their turn.

Specialized Equine-Assisted Learning Programs: These programs include communication skills for law enforcement officers and medical professionals, psychotherapy skills for mental health clinicians, and communication and social skills training for children with developmental disorders.

Psychology Students Learn Equine Therapy Student Therapist Practices Non-Verbal Communication
A group of psychology doctoral students prepare for an equine-assisted learning program to enhance their skills as psychotherapists. A student therapist hones her non-verbal skills as she assists a “client” in meeting a goal.

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: In these programs horses are incorporated into mental health treatment, addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, anger, trauma and bereavement. Programs are available for individuals, couples, and special populations, such as military veterans.

Marine Veteran Equine Therapy Interaction Specialized Equine Assisted Programs with La Nina
A Marine veteran interacts with the
Cracker horses in an equine-assisted session.
La Nina, who lost a leg in an accident, now
helps with our Specialized Equine-Assisted Programs.

Program Availability

Equine-assisted programs are available from October through May. Hourly, half-day, full-day, and overnight retreat workshops are available for individuals, couples or groups. Programs are custom designed to reflect an individual’s or group’s specific goals. To see examples of equine-assisted programs held at The Equine Education Center go to www.EyeOfaHorse.com. For more information or to arrange for equine-assisted sessions at Forever Florida’s Equine Education Center, please contact Dr. Sandra Wise directly at DrWise@DrSandraWise.com or (321) 749-0216 or call Forever Florida (407) 957-9794 and ask for Dr. Wise.

 


Equine Education Center Professional Staff


Dr. Sandra Wise and Dean Van Camp

Dr. Sandra Wise, Florida and Colorado Licensed Psychologist and Equine Specialist

Dr. Wise has worked in private practice and has served as the Director of Mental Health for the Delaware State Department of Corrections, and for several Colorado prisons. She has taught graduate-level courses in clinical psychology and has conducted numerous workshops and clinics, assisting clients of all ages and life challenges.

In 2002, Dr. Wise began utilizing principles of applied behavioral analysis in training horses and gentling cattle at Crescent J Ranch. The combination of Dr. Wise's horsemanship and psychotherapeutic skills creates unique opportunities for exploration, insight, and dynamic growth for her equine-assisted learning/therapy clients. To view Dr. Wise's professional curriculum vita go to www.EyeOfaHorse.com.

Dean Van Camp, Equine Specialist

Dean has over 35 years experience training horses. Since 2002 he has served as the head horse trainer at Crescent J Ranch, preparing the Spanish Colonial horses for cow work on the ranch or for sale to the public. As an equine educator, Dean understands the power of the human-horse connection and its incredible potential for positive impact in all areas of life. Dean coaches our clients in reading and understanding the reactions and responses that horses demonstrate when interacting with them in exercises. This, in turn, improves our clients' ability to read and understand the impact their own behavior has on other people in their lives.

 
 
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