«Return to News ListingNMCTR’s Self-Mastery Program Receives Two Grants from New Mexico Foundations

May 26, 2022 – 

The New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding (NMCTR) recently received two grants to support the Self-Mastery Program. The Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) Foundation generously donated $5,000 in April 2022 and the New Mexico Children’s Foundation just announced their $10,000 grant towards the program. NMCTR is grateful for the generosity of these two foundations for recognizing the need for this important, unique and successful program in our community.

The Self-Mastery Program is a research-based program providing vitally needed behavioral health services for at-risk youth experiencing school difficulties, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts, family conflict and loss, substance use, bullying, aggression, etc. In collaboration with the Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS), Self-Mastery provides at-risk youth an innovative, research-based, equine-assisted learning program consisting of two 8-week sessions, two hours per week that is co-facilitated by a teenage mental health therapist and a NMCTR certified riding instructor.  Both professionals are certified in the HeartMath modality.

This program is at no cost to the SFIS and has been provided to the school’s students for the last five years. Each lesson teaches at-risk youth the power of working with their own minds/emotions to influence their autonomic nervous system to improve psychological and physical health. All negative behaviors (depression, suicidal ideations, substance abuse, etc.) are related to the stress hormones released into the body. Because horses are exquisitely attuned to the energy and emotional body of the person, they provide meaningful biofeedback to each participant. Biofeedback and teen emotional self-regulation is also measured using the science-based technology of HeartMath throughout the course of the program. Youth learn how to teach their bodies to recognize the hormonal releases associated with a state of wellness and balance (heart coherence). When in a state of coherence, the participant’s electromagnetic field becomes balanced and regulated, decreasing stress. Participants in the Self-Mastery Program see marked improvements in their energy awareness, breath awareness, and body awareness which strengthens their mental health.

Teens learn that they do have the ability to influence how they feel physically, mentally, and emotionally and are better internally-equipped to make positive and healthy choices in life. Through this program, teens are better able to arrive in the classroom ready and able to learn. The at-risk youth in the Self-Mastery Program are from different tribes all over the state of New Mexico through their participation in the Santa Fe Indian School.