Meet Katie Stankiewicz, Equine Specialist, Certified Leadership Coach and Owner of Willow Equine. After a fast-paced, seven year career in the racing industry traveling nearly every weekend, Katie understands what it means to be physically and mentally stressed. “When I retired from racing, I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and work with horses!”
Growing up on a 300-acre farm, Katie was surrounded by horses from an early age. “Since I was three years old, horses have always been my escape for both fun and stress relief.” She was so fascinated with the therapeutic effects of interacting with horses and was elated when she was introduced to what’s called the Eagala Model in 2009. This distinct approach to professional mental health and personal development services is designed to empower clients through personal and physical experiences with horses.
With a team a highly trained specialists, Willow Equine offers individual and team counseling, workshop and retreats through their Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Katie and her team also offer a veteran-centric program, Soul to Soles Connection. “Our unconventional approach to the traditional talk therapy promotes healthy life transitions through practical application of proven principles rooted in military culture.” The veterans learn through hands-on activities with the horses where the focus is on action, not talking.
Willow Equine is also actively involved local events supporting veterans (e.g., sponsor at Tee Off For A Veteran golf tournament, donations to Welcome Home Veterans at Richard’s Coffee Shop, etc.). Through her program, Katie’s hope is to educate the public on the power of the horses and remove the stigma surrounding mental health, especially in the military.
“We are committed to respecting the integrity of those who fought for our freedom and offering them space and time to heal.” Services are at no cost to veterans and they work with most insurance companies. With their "Soul to Soles Connection," their mission is "Aligning Veterans' Strengths' With Horses' Freedom For Healing."
Soul to Soles Connection, a 501 (c) 3 organization, is dedicated to the mental health of our military and their families. Participants are offered the time they need to heal and overcome challenges with the support of our professional facilitators – our licensed mental health professional, certified equine specialist & the horses.
Although, we are not veterans ourselves, we are an Eagala Military Service Program, with specialized training and experience with the military community. Our mission is to offer equine assisted psychotherapy to service members and their families. We honor all by providing a supportive haven – a place where concerns and struggles can be explored and released. The experiential nature of working with horses, engages the active and retired military in their own healing process, reaching solutions that meet them squarely on their own terms.
Owner, Willow Equine
Soul to Soles information:
Facebook: Soul to Soles Connection