On Saturday, August 21, 2010, Dr. Eugenia Weiss and 20+ first year graduate students and staff from the University of Southern California’s School of Military Social Work visited Pegasus Rising’s private Valenti Ranch located in Rancho Santa Fe. Pegasus Rising was pleased to be one of only a handful of San Diego County programs to be included as part of USC’s Community Immersion Program for their incoming first year students.
The day’s events opened with an educational briefing covering both equine psychology in general as well as the extreme neglect the Pegasus Rising herd endured before their rescue. President & CEO Gary Adler also detailed the results of Pegasus Rising’s ongoing EAT program and how it has provided therapeutic benefits and assistance in reintegrating both active duty and retired veterans (and their families) into their civilian and family lives.
The educational briefing was followed by an interactive Q & A session and, thereafter, an equine experiential engagement. All of the students, staff and faculty participated for well over an hour in a hands-on equine based exposure, working simultaneously in all three main paddocks with a total of 18 herd members facilitated by Pegasus Rising’s all volunteer staff. The program concluded with a spectacle of water sports (i.e., sprinklers) and the herd showed off like kids at the beach; enjoying the water and rolling in the sand–to everyone’s delight.
The response from the USC faculty and students was so positive that Pegasus Rising and USC are now in the beginning stage of discussing the possibilities for clinical student internships at the Valenti Ranch and we will update you further as things develop!