When Life Challenges

Horse People


Let’s face it, equestrians are people too, and with or without horses, life can be hard! Everyone has problems, but when faced with difficult challenges, wouldn’t it be nice to talk to someone thoroughly versed in the workings of the equestrian community? That’s why I started Equestrian Counseling Services (ECS). ECS offers horse people the unique opportunity to resolve psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues with the help of a licensed mental health professional who already understands the equestrian lifestyle - from backyard ponies to international competition. Through ECS, I provide counseling for adolescents, adults, couples, and families in Wellington and the surrounding communities as well as seasonal participants of WEF.

Seeing a traditional therapist means having to explain everything like the fact that you can’t go out of town on last minute trips because you have horses to care for, or how you feel after weeks on the road traveling from one show to another. Since starting ECS, I found more and more equestrians really appreciate talking to someone who understands their way of life. Though I frequent Wellington and the WEF show grounds, my relationship with my clients is strictly confidential. I may acknowledge them in passing, but I would never divulge the depth of our professional relationship. I think keeping client confidentiality, especially in the horse world, is really important in this type of work. I strive to provide a safe, secure environment that nurtures inner healing and optimal growth. In order to flex with the availability and busy schedules of equestrians and their families, I conduct sessions at the stable, on the show grounds, or in people’s homes. I enjoy getting to know fellow equestrians in their natural surroundings, where they feel most comfortable.

I find that horse people appreciate being offered personalized counseling according to their age, development, unique struggles, strengths, resources, and life circumstances. Though I start with traditional “talk therapy,” I also offer experiential techniques including Equine Assisted Therapy, for which I have been specifically trained and certified. In Equine Assisted Therapy, I put people together with horses, on the ground, doing un-mounted activities, and we process the thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns that emerge. I find it just as eye-opening for experienced horse people as it is for those completely unfamiliar with or afraid of horses. In some instances it can even bridge equestrian families or couples divided between “horsey” and “non-horsey.”

Like people in the “real world,” equestrians face challenges managing issues such as Confidence & Self-Esteem, Performance Anxiety, Academic Tension, Life Transitions, Separation Anxiety, Adjustment Disorders, Anger & Family Conflict, Addiction & Substance Abuse, Depression, Grief & Loss. They may be immersed in the local community or traveled halfway across the country to show at WEF, but their issues still follow them. In fact, their problems may be intensified by the stress and rigors of daily horse care, training, and competition. Seeing someone struggle is hard, but the best part of what I do is helping other horse people. There’s no doubt about it, we are a strange bunch, us horse people, but I’m proud to be able to help my fellow equestrians who are, after all, people too.



Lisa Baugh, MA, LMFT

Lisa Baugh is a FL licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. She uses traditional counseling as well as experiential techniques such as Equine Assisted Therapy to help individuals and families reach their full potential. Though she works with individuals and families from a wide variety of lifestyles and backgrounds, she has a special affinity for “horse people” and a unique understanding of their worldviews. Her life-long equestrian background makes her sensitive to the specific influences and nuances of the horse community.

Equestrian Counseling

561-791-8939 * Lsbaugh1@yahoo.com


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