August 17, 2013 — Parelli Education Institute Inc., has announced that Ashley Edmonds Hayes, MA, LPC(P), has joined the organization as their Youth Programs Coordinator. Ashley, who is also the founder and executive director of Shepherd Youth Ranch, Inc., located in Franklinton, North Carolina (near Raleigh), has more than 25 years of experience working with youth.
Ashley’s journey to working with youth through equine assisted therapy has roots in her childhood, when, while visiting Sea World, Ashley announced to her parents that she wanted to become a dolphin trainer! Several years later Ashley came across a book about dolphins helping children with developmental disabilities to better communicate. It was then that Ashley realized her desire to pair animals with humans in need. Ashley received her degree in Communications from the University of North Carolina and received a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Ministry from Southeastern Seminary. Following these achievements Ashley began focusing on how to incorporate animals into therapy programs, first with dogs, then when she discovered that horses are gifted ‘counselors’, she began working with them.
Ashley has received her certification in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and has accumulated many hours of training in Equine Assisted Therapy, Equine Assisted Learning and Parelli Natural Horsemanship. She has completed the One Star Course and is currently finishing up her audition for Level 4 Online for One Star Trainee.
Over the past 10 years, Ashley has taken on the mission of pairing broken horses with broken youth through her work with Shepherd Youth Ranch (www.shepherdyouthranch.org). One of the programs at the ranch is the Savvy Shepherd Demo Team, which involves a group of youth volunteers who assist in the care and training of the horses as well as providing public demonstrations that emphasizes not only the ranch’s mission, but the importance and benefits of developing a positive relationship with a horse. She spends much of her time developing new innovative equine assisted programs and providing training workshops to organizations looking to do similar work.
In regard to the goals of the youth program, Ashley and a team of volunteers and Parelli Professionals hope to identify young people with the passion and promise to become future leaders. Their programs include developing adventure camps and special youth programs and incentives targeted toward youth groups, 4-H programs and homeschooling groups.
The Parelli Education Institute is an independent, non-profit organization for the natural horsemanship community that focuses on education. The purpose of the Institute is to support an advanced natural horsemanship education for students with the skills and aptitude to become extraordinary horsemen, educators, or both. The Institute offers educational programs and opportunities to individuals who wish to create careers around horses. Further, the Institute offers assistance to organizations focused on youth horsemanship, therapeutic horsemanship and equine welfare.