In 2008, Triple Creek Ranch Owner Cindy Long launched Groundwork Connection while working with a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation program. Through her work, Cindy saw how positively clients were responding to time spent with her horses, specifically when the client remained on the ground and interacted with the horses using non-verbal communication.
Groundwork Connection is a non-riding program that is a powerful tool for healing. Horses are exceedingly intuitive, and they can replicate, or mirror, a client’s internal emotional state so that the client can experience first-hand as a recipient how their emotions can impact others. This impactful exchange can occur quite quickly and helps clients learn to be self-aware of their feelings and explore ways to self-regulate their emotions. As clients learn emotional coping strategies, their connection with the horse grows, and the learned skills can be transferred to interpersonal relationships with people in their lives.
Since founding Groundwork Connection, Cindy has been using horses in brain injury rehab and Equine Assisted Services to help clients with a variety of health concerns including physical and psychological challenges. Cindy is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS) as well as Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified.
I cannot say enough positive things about Cindy Long and her Groundwork Connection course!
My four children were adopted from hard places when they were already older. They are also all Deaf and had no communication access for many years. It has been amazing to watch them learn about the horses, but about themselves as well: how they project themselves, the way their emotions have outward effects, and often bringing attention to emotions and behaviors they weren’t even aware of to begin with.
Horses are able to communicate so visually, the placement of their feet, the carriage of their ears, the movements of their mouth, that my children were free from the communication barriers they usually experience with people. Horses also give instant feedback, so my children could assess their actions in the moment, without having to recall hazy memories later.
My children always talk about their sessions the rest of the day, and we reference the things they have learned throughout the week. It has been so beneficial to see them take concrete concepts they learn with the horses and apply them to relationships at home and at school. And they are proud of the skills they learn and what they achieve through their partnerships with the horses.
And I cannot go without a word of praise for our instructor herself. Cindy Long has worked with my children for years now, and each of them know how much she genuinely cares for them. She has even gone out of her way to learn some ASL so that she can communicate directly with my children. She has blessed our family beyond description! I wholeheartedly believe in the work she is doing and recommend her Groundwork Connection course for anyone of any age and any need!
— Sam M.
My husband, Charles, and I met Cindy Long and her horses Hank and Tripp when Charles was recovering from a pineal meningioma brain tumor resection and life had changed completely from what we had known. Cindy was such a blessing to us on many levels.
Charles had a long journey ahead of him to heal and transition back to being at home after his surgery. He was so fortunate to have the opportunity to get to do therapy with Cindy and her horse Hank. Cindy is a professional therapist and a good judge of the needs of people who are healing from trauma, anxiety or who are experiencing low self-esteem. She has dedicated her life work to healing with horses.
Charles truly benefited from his time with Cindy and Hank. I saw that the horse therapy was unlike any other therapy and had a calming effect on Charles which helped him in so many ways. Her horses are amazing and a product of her natural ability, professional training and passion to bring horses and humans together in a common space.
Cindy, Hank and Tripp also helped me. At a time when our lives were so out of control and the future was unknown, her horses, her kind heart and passion for helping others was a huge part of the healing process for me as a caregiver. I am so excited to watch how this next chapter of Cindy’s, Hank’s and Tripp’s lives unfolds as they follow their dream and passion for helping others at Triple Creek.
— Lana L.
My daughter. who is on the autism spectrum, began therapy at three years old. She has had many amazing therapists over the years and is currently blessed to be working with Cindy.
In 2014, we found a wonderful equine assisted services program where Cindy was one of her instructors. Back then, our daughter struggled with sensory integration, vision issues, being able to express her feelings, frequent meltdowns, loud noises and more. Cindy's calm and caring demeanor helped her approach horses in a calm, careful manner. My daughter immediately connected with the horse and that grew as she worked on Groundwork.
Over the years, the Groundwork Connection became my daughter's favorite part. She continues to learn how to read horses' nonverbal communication. This has helped her grow tremendously emotionally and socially. We have also seen our daughter improve in her cognitive processing. Recently, we have seen her take more responsibility in knowing her schedule and getting her school work done. She is focusing for longer spans of time on the tasks at hand. Furthermore, she expresses her feelings in a much better way, rarely has meltdowns and rarely feels the need to leave and retreat from loud noises and/or copes with hearing protection. She is much more open to trying new experiences and is socializing amongst her peers.
Cindy now comes and helps us learn how to care for our horse where we have him boarded and continues Groundwork with our daughter. He was our daughter's favorite therapy horse and has brought so much joy to all of us! The love of a horse is so unique and special. Without Cindy's instruction, guidance and direction, we would never have been able to experience that love and witness our daughter's improvement.
We thank God our paths crossed and are so thankful for her!
— Marie R.