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For more information and to schedule an appointment, please contact us at (818) 390-7005.

Eva Lund: or Nicoletta Heidegger: 

Click here for Nicoletta's Website



Recovery at the Ranch is an AA program at Special Spirit Ranch for those participating in alcohol and drug addiction, rehabilitation and recovery, this program uses the healing power of horses. This half-day program emphasizes the ranch’s Power Tools for Living motto: Respect, Responsibility, Relationship Skills, Boundaries, Empathy, Choices, and Consequences.

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Special Spirit Equine Assisted Programs are not about horsemanship skills or riding skills. They are about experiencing a unique and authentic partnership, challenging yourself to honestly assess your life, finding your strengths and problem solving your struggles. No prior horse experience is necessary.

At Special Spirit, you will be engaged in on-the-ground, interactive and experiential equine activities to help you:

  • Grow your self-confidence

  • Develop stronger boundaries (Learn how to say no and mean it!)

  • Increase your communication efficiency

  • Uncover unproductive patterns

  • Build trust in yourself and others

  • Become a better leader

  • Become a team player

  • Highlight your strengths

  • Overcome challenges and fears

  • Increase your problem solving skills

  • Build empathy toward others

  • Improve your social skills

  • Respect yourself and others

  • Take action

Animal Assisted Learning


Equine Assisted Learning partners horses and humans in specifically designed ground activities to foster emotional growth and personal development.

EAL provides a unique experiential learning environment to develop and enhance life skills.  Participants learn about themselves while participating in specifically designed activities with horses that require the application of certain skills, such as problem solving, assertiveness, and relationship skills. EAL emphasizes the impact of non-verbal communication by using the relationship between humans and horses. Horses are prey animals and due to their natural instincts, they respond honestly to how a person presents himself, both physically and emotionally, and provide immediate feedback. They react to the environment and energy through non-verbal communication, creating an opportunity for us to understand what we are actually communicating, instead of what we think we’re communicating. Horses are very effective in creating a rich learning environment.  Their heightened sensitivity, instant feedback and ability to mirror our emotions create opportunities to increase our awareness, congruency and effective use of non-verbal skills.

Another reason that horses are used in EAL is that their mere presence, size and power make us aware and can bring an array of emotions to the surface, oftentimes creating an opportunity for individuals to overcome fear and process frustration. 

Completing a task despite these fears and emotions builds confidence and provides metaphors for working with other challenging and intimidating situations.  Horses are social animals and, like humans, have distinct personalities, moods and behaviors. The activities are designed to provide opportunities for the participants to explore how they move through life, how they react and respond to challenges and how they are perceived by others.  Horses are non-judgmental and don’t lie.  If a participant is not congruent with her feelings and actions, the horse will call her out, seeing below the surface presentation and reacting to her authentic emotions.  Participants process their feelings in the moment with facilitators while doing the activity, and will take the experience home to reflect on their patterns of behavior and new skills learned. The horses frequently teach us that when we change our approach we can achieve a different outcome.  EAL is facilitated by a certified equine specialist and a licensed clinical therapist. EAL has been proven effective in developing and enhancing life skills, such as assertiveness, boundary recognition, communication, confidence, creative thinking, problem solving and effective social interaction.


PRICES: Cost varies from $150-$200 for an individual session
to $1,500.00 for an all day group of 10-12 people with additional facilitators.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, please contact us at (818) 390-7005.

Eva Lund: or Nicoletta Heidegger: 


Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy is considered a short-term modality and can be used in conjunction regular therapy. You will meet with our clinician who will assist you in establishing your treatment goals. If you are currently in therapy, our clinician will be more than happy to collaborate with your regular therapist in order to establish a congruent treatment plan to build on skills you have been working on or address particularly difficult challenges.


Following the first interview, our team will design a treatment plan which will include equine activities specifically tailored to meet your needs. 

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy can help you:

  • Build confidence

  • Build trust

  • Face your fears

  • Learn how to say no

  • Change unproductive patterns

  • Develop new coping skills

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs, including behavioral issues, ADHD, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse, trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, anger management and communication challenges.


90 minutes for 8 Weeks

Equine experiential activities where participants have the opportunity to develop a bond with each other and their equine partners, provide feedback and support to one another, exchange ideas, and grow in a safe, challenging and non-judgmental environment.


75-90 minutes

Equine Assisted Therapy can help couples address a variety of dysfunctional behaviors and communication problems. The couple will meet with our clinical team to discuss difficulties of current concern or areas the couple would like to work on.

Equine Assisted Therapy can assist couples in:

  • Improving your communication

  • Developing empathy towards one another

  • Increasing your intimacy

  • Pinpointing ineffective parenting skills

  • Highlighting a couple's strengths

  • Reminding you of the reasons why you are together

  • Bringing fun and excitement to your relationship


75-90 minutes

In today's world, many families endure stress from factors like financial difficulties, time pressures, workplace issues, or conflicts arising from social media, sexual dynamics, the internet, drug abuse, and schoolwork, to name just a few. Dysfunctional family dynamics can be explored safely and enjoyably through Equine Assisted Therapy.

Equine Assisted Therapy can assist a family with:

  • Having fun together

  • Improving their communication

  • Pointing our their strengths

  • Developing empathy

  • Encouraging team work and collaboration among family members

  • Highlighting inefficient discipline techniques


Scheduling is flexible according to client needs and team availability.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.

Eva Lund: or Nicoletta Heidegger: 

"Donovan suffers from type 1 diabetes and autism spectrum disorder. 
At first we were not sure if being around horses would be a good idea or if he would even enjoy it, but he proved us wrong. Since the first time he rode, he has had a smile of joy every time we come to the ranch. 

Donovan has trouble using his hands for some tasks, walking properly, and social skills. In just a few months he is learning how to finally tie his shoes, use his hands for more tasks, and is walking better. Donovan does not like making eye-contact or having conversations with people, but when he's riding he will look at you and answer when he is being asked too. Donovan loves caring for the horses but his favorite thing is trotting on the horses!  He's the happiest little boy when he knows we're going to the ranch to ride, especially on Pumpkin. Thanks to Miss Eva and Special Spirit's time, patience, and support we have gone one step further in changing Donovan's life."



Special Spirit Inc – The Learning Ranch is committed to providing the safest environment for our employees and visitors. We are committed to continuously monitoring the spread of COVID-19 at a national, state and local level, while adhering to all local health department rules in our evaluation of work and event protocols based on the most current situation.


Your donation will help us continue our mission to enrich the lives of our young riders through our various programs. Thank you for your support and all you do for Special Spirit!

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