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“For someone in the military like me, it’s hard to swallow my pride and ask for help.

This was a safe environment to open up in. Sometimes the horses talked for me and helped show me the path to save my marriage.”

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YouTube Video -

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“The Eagala Model uses the horse to gain insight into behaviors horse’s and perceptions. The reactions provide unbiased
and real time breaking feedback, through the barriers that many experience
military members in conversations with others who cannot begin to understand what we feel because we made it back.

~ Jimmy L. Walters, COL, USA (Ret)

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Eagala Military Services standards and treatment protocols promote healthy life transitions through practical application of proven principles rooted in military culture. Here’s why our program is particularly valuable for service members, veterans and their families:

Horses are novel and engaging. The non-traditional settings of Eagala programs help service members move beyond the perceived stigma that can be associated with talk-only therapy and office visits.

The unique qualities of the horse speed emotional breakthroughs, especially those suffering from PTSD. These highly-at-tuned animals offer safe reflection and compelling feedback for fears and anxieties military clients may be facing. In the hands of a skilled treatment team, the horses’ unique sensitivity can help clients understand their own internal processes more readily than hours of talk.

Herd dynamics can help clients understand their own lives. Observing the dynamics of a herd of horses can help clients better understand the dynamics of their own family, military unit and community and provide another positive model for collaboration, support and trust.

Foster resilience in times of high stress. The Eagala Military Services approach is based on experience and doing. The treatment sessions re-create life experiences, including those involving frustrations, high stress and relationship problems. This provides opportunities for service members and their families to discover their resources and strengths and overcome perceived obstacles to change and growth in their unit, communities, and homes. Clients challenge themselves in activities with horses that remove much of the perceived stigma associated with traditional talk therapy treatment methods.

Discover real world solutions to their toughest challenges. Clients find their own solutions to the struggles in their lives. Under the direction of an EAGALA Military Services Treatment Team, clients build on their resilience and learn through self-discovery the changes they need to make in order to be more successful in both military and civilian life.



“Aligning Veterans’ Strengths with Horses’ Freedom for Healing”

Soul to Soles Connection is dedicated to providing a safe space for veterans and their families to overcome life’s challenges. Using the Eagala model, our heroes are offered a tranquil space and the time they need to heal.

Our vision is to offer the Eagala model of personal development to veterans and their families. We honor all branches of our military and their families by providing a nonjudgmental, supportive, safe haven - a place where concerns and struggles can be explored. The experiential nature of working with horses through the Eagala Model engages military veterans in their own healing process, with solutions that meet them squarely on their own terms. Soul to Soles Connection is committed to respecting the integrity of those who fought for our freedom and offering them space and time to heal.

We are awaiting our 501(c)3 status.


Click on the Links Below to Learn More About Eagala and our Military

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“ Geriatric Veterans with cognitive deficits often struggle with feelings of being an observer of their own life.  The very nature of Alzheimer’s, dementia’s, parkinson’s threatens to rob a person of their individuality, of their personal memories and ability to meaningfully connect with others.    Many of their daily choices, and that of their family members are now decided and acted out by medical staff persons.  And while healthcare has come a long way in becoming “person centered” and “Homelike”, which are measures to be appreciated- truly living in the moment, celebrating one’s life as it presently is- remains a dim glow in everyday skilled nursing care. 

Humans have an innate deire to belong, be a part of something bigger than themselves. And the need, perhaps especially for Veterans - to know they are making a difference. When our Veterans feel they are connected, making a difference, that is when the dim glow becomes a spark, a flame!

So when our aging Veterans roll onto Willow Equine, submerged in an environment that both comforts and energizes, a subtle reminder of home and the independence of their youth ... Eagala becomes the perfect catalyst for what our Veterans need most. The ability to connect and be present. An opening to just be. No judgement, no confusion, no power struggle. Simply the opportunity to bask in the presence of a large animal that seems to accept them as they are. The ability to meaningfully impact their environment.

Willow Equine allows the Veteran to bask in sensory stimulation ... enjoy the warm beams of sunshine that rest upon cheekbones, or catch a whiff of honeysuckle while being serenaded by a chorus of birds chirping. Simple freedoms such as these are a gentle reminder of all that Veterans, and their family members, sacrifice to protect our homeland and the liberties offered to all residing here. Despite the magnitude of what these Veterans faced in combat, a trip to the farm leaves them filled with gratitude. They understand that these “simple freedoms” are anything but simple.

The bus ride back to the VA is traditionally bursting with both enthusiastic chatter and a calm confidence of knowing their morning mattered. And the question is always the same “when are we going back”?

Terri Gilbeau, CTRS
VA Medical Center, Salisbury, North Carolina

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