Healing with horses

Health / ...outta the barn

Alternative therapy gains popularity

By Debi Neville

When life is stressful, it’s easy to forget about the importance of uninterrupted alone time — a time to reconnect, gather your thoughts and just get away from everything for awhile. And sometimes, finding a place to be alone seems impossible.


Dawn Sanborn, a certified therapeutic coach and equine assisted coach at ...outta the barn in Rochester, provides that place for peace and quiet. Sanborn says returning to nature and being in the presence of animals, particularly horses, is the key to finding your inner self.

"Horses are more attuned to our environment," she said. They can show us when we are fooling ourselves and when we are on the right track.

How does it work?

Equine assisted coaching (EAC) is an educational therapy in which horses and coaches work together with clients to guide the client’s personal and professional growth and development. Coaches introduce clients to a variety of activities with horses, mostly on the ground, making it possible for clients with or without horse experience to benefit from the work. The approach is non-directive yet focused on problem solving and accomplishing goals.

First developed in California and Arizona, EAC is continually gaining popularity. It is the "next generation" of personal and corporate coaching and training.

"I’m not a psychologist, I don’t analyze, I help people find their voice," she said.

With the EAC method, the coach listens carefully, asks powerful questions and provides accountability. The client’s role is to deepen learning, clarify vision and move forward with it.

"Horses mirror what human body language tells them, the inconsistent behaviors we may not be aware of, that stop us from moving forward in life," Sanborn said. "I interpret what the horse does and ask the client how they can relate to it."


Sanborn can assist people with or without the aid of the horses. At the first informational meeting, she explains options. It is a discovery process in a laid-back, relaxed environment, determining what the individual wants to achieve.

"I’ve never seen it not work, people are amazed when they see what happens," Sanborn said. Clients find something to correct and focus on in a more direct manner. They are more apt to do something about it.

A Holistic expo at the farm to showcase alternative therapies and ideas is being planned for spring.

For questions about ...outta the barn services, call 252-4662 or e-mail

Debi Neville is a Rochester freelance writer.

For more, go to

Services at ...outta the barn

• Custom-created sessions.


• One free consultation to meet and decide if the program is right for you.

• One-on-one coaching.

• Retreats, which may include Yoga, massage and time for meditation.


...outta the barn

Equine Guided Education Association

What To Read Next
Caitlin and Jason Keck’s two-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation committee begins next month.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met on Jan. 5, 2023, to consider the application for Summit Carbon Solutions.
Qualified Minnesota farmers will receive dollar-for-dollar matching money to purchase farmland.