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Long Island Business News: Horse Therapy

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Long Island Business News/ Nonprofits/ April 4 - 10, 2014/ LIBN.COM

Newsday: LIlife: Serving vets and pets

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Newsday/ LIlife/ Sunday, March 30, 2014/ Brookhaven-South Fork 
Written by: Arielle Brechisci

Pulse Magazine: PLEASE STAND UP: Good People Doing Good Things

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Long Island Pulse Magazine, April 2014: Long Island Spring Preview

Horsepower to help overcome challenges

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Newsday, Long Island Business, Pg. A37, Monday, March 24th, 2014 LI Edition
Link to full page: 

Pal-O-Mine Equestrian awarded grant from The Allstate Foundation

(Islandia, NY) Pal-O-Mine Equestrian received a $1,000 grant from The Allstate Agency Hands in the Community grant for operating support and Allstate Agency volunteer program funding. Pal-O-Mine’s volunteer opportunities include property repairs and building or painting structures. Thank you to our favorite Allstate agent Rocco Caprioli and The Allstate Foundation for supporting Pal-O-Mine in so many ways.

About The Allstate Foundation

The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people's well-being and prosperity.

For more than 60 years, The Allstate Foundation has been dedicated to a straightforward purpose: helping people.

Their core goal is to help Americans realize their hopes and dreams by connecting people through innovative programs that drive social change.

About Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc.

Pal-O-Mine Equestrian’s roots date back to 1993 when Founder and Director Lisa Gatti started a therapeutic riding program for individuals with disabilities. Its mission is to provide a comprehensive therapeutic equine program using horses to facilitate growth, learning and healing. Our population includes children and adults with disabilities, those who have been abused or neglected, the military and the economically compromised. Pal-O-Mine operates a full time program, seven days a week, twelve months a year, and supports eighteen program horses on an 8-acre facility serving 300 individuals with disabilities weekly. For more information, visit or call 631-348-1389.


Giving of the Century- 100 Women Who Care About Long Island

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Nonpprofits 34A/ Long Island Business/ News Jan.31-Feb. 6, 2014/
Compiled by Bernadette Starzee

LI jobs increase 2.1% in December, year to year

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Photo credit: Chris Ware | Special-ed teacher Jen Norton found the perfect fit: a job at Pal-O-Mine in Islandia working with horses and the disabled. (Jan. 23, 2014)


Long Island had 26,500 more jobs in December than a year earlier, the latest sign of the local employment market's continued strength, state data released Thursday show.

The 2.1 percent increase compares with 1.1 percent for the state and 1.6 percent for the nation on a year-over-year basis, the Labor Department said. As of last month, the Island had 1.31 million jobs, up from 1.28 million the year before.

The professional and business-services sector, one of the highest-paying here, continued to lead job increases, with 8,300 more jobs compared with a year ago. The sector, which includes lawyers and accountants, has led gains in five of the last six monthly reports.

That milestone is significant because until recently Long Island's recovery from the recession was largely marked by the rise of lower-wage jobs. But the strength in professional and business services and in other higher-wage categories like construction are helping to turn that tide.

Construction had 4,400 more jobs than a year ago, and the gains represent increased activity beyond superstorm Sandy repairs, said Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the department's Hicksville office. She cited hospital expansions and multifamily-home construction.

"I think there's a lot of foundation to the growth that should continue over several years at least," she said.

John A. Rizzo, chief economist for the Long Island Association, the Island's largest business group, expects job growth overall to continue because of reports showing positive sentiments among local consumers, businesses and government officials. "I think there will be continued job growth on Long Island," he said.

The second-highest job gainer, the private-education and health-services sector, grew by 8,100 jobs.

Central Islip resident Jen Norton found a job last month in that sector. The special-education teacher was hired at Pal-O-Mine Equestrian Inc., an Islandia nonprofit that uses horseback riding to help the developmentally disabled.

Norton, who has a master's degree in special education and a bachelor's in animal science, said the job is a perfect fit for her. She learned about the business when researching jobs that combined her expertise.

She decided on that strategy after moving back to Long Island from North Carolina a year ago and not being able to find a permanent teaching job. "Research what your true passion is," she advises other job seekers. "This is definitely a passion for me, working with kids and working with horses."

Some key sectors lost jobs. For example, manufacturing, a high-wage category, lost the most, down 1,900 jobs, compared with a year ago.

The Labor Department uses year-over-year comparisons because local data aren't adjusted to reflect seasonal fluctuations.

It will release last month's jobless rate on Tuesday. November's rate tumbled 1.7 percentage points from a year ago, to 5.4 percent.

Originally published: January 23, 2014 

Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Lisa Gatti in Gem Magazine

Eight wide-open acres of farmland is just a half-mile from the LIE... only in Islandia, NY, is Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, a therapeutic equine program that facilitates growth, learning and healing.  For the hundreds of clients who visit weekly-children and adults with disabilities, those who have been abused or neglected, veterans and the economically compromised, Pal-O-Mine has become an oasis of hope.

Looking out her office window, Founder and Executive Director Lisa Gatti keeps a watchful eye on a 12-year-old rider trotting along in the arena.  A car accident at age 2 left the girl in critical condition, and although her doctor advised "pulling the plug," her parents never gave up hope.  Against overwhelming odds, this fighter of a child had overcome enormous struggles.  Today, ten years later, she is out there on this beautiful field, navigating around obstacles with her trusted quarter horse that has become her best friend.

"The horses put her on a level playing field, an opportunity that so many kids with challenges never get," said Lisa.  "It makes no difference to her horse that her feet are in adaptive stirrups or her hands are holding reins made especially for her.  She's riding independently out there.  Our clients experience that feeling of self-worth often for the first time in their lives."

A non-profit 501c3 organization, Pal-O-Mine is a safe haven for so many.  "Their horses become their best friend, someone they can share their stories with, to cry to, to enjoy happiness with."

Lisa started Pal-O-Mine in 1995.  The idea came from a Danielle Steel novel she read in college, when she realized she could combine her passions for horseback riding and teaching.  After learning how her work inspired Lisa, Ms. Steel sent Pal-O-Mine an $8,000 check signed with "Good LUCK!", becoming one of Lisa's first financial backers.

Pal-O-Mine uses horses to help treat and heal physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities.  The horses teach trust, responsibility and loyalty.  Pal-O-Mine contracts with alternative schools to facilitate character education curricula for elementary through high school-aged students that encourage positive behaviors.  The curricula meets academic standards, and all of Pal-O-Mine's teachers are certified.

For children with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida, "The horse's movement gives input to a patient's vestibular system, improving hand-eye coordination, balance, gross motor control and trunk control," Lisa said.  "Our horses help youth who want to believe in themselves.  They help kids who can speak, see, or hear to find new ways to connect with the world and build confidence."

"These are incredible kids and adults with so much courage," said Lisa, talking about the difference Pal-O-Mine has made to the lives of their clients.  "It could be that a student who was never able to hold up their own body for more than a minute, can now sit up for 15 minutes. That's huge," she said.

Pal-O-Mine works with a wide array of at-risk groups. For victims of domestic violence, the horses represent their freedom, and they learn confidence and how to set boundaries.  The Horses Healing Veterans program is tailored for our military suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury. There are programs for children who have been bullied, for young adults with mental illness and for those who struggle with alcohol and substance abuse.  Horses do not discriminate; they live in the moment and are acutely aware of their surroundings and environment, making them the perfect tool to address presenting issues.

Pal-O-Mine is not state-funded, which means they rely solely on donations.  Anyone can adopt a horse, or a rider, or a school district to help keep Pal-O-Mine doing the wonderfully innovative and effective work they are doing.  With 400 students working with 19 therapy horses weekly, Pal-O-Mine's 150 volunteers and six full-time paid staff are busy.  But they are all dedicated to giving back.  "Everyone wants to be here because of a love for the animals, the environment, and our clients.  All of us get back so much more than we give," said Lisa.  "It's so nice to make a difference."

Visit, (631) 348-1389.

Hillary Call

View the full article in GEM Magazine Winter 2013 Issue.

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Equine Therapy Programs Encourage Communication and Build Character

Equine Therapy Programs Encourage Communication and Build Character for Youth
By: The New York State Office of Children and Family Services 

The young women at Brentwood Residential Center in Dix Hills on Long Island aren’t riding horses -- they are learning from them. For these 12-to 18-year-olds, placed in the custody of the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) by Family Courts, the horses offer a way of learning to handle their emotions.

The unique therapy is made possible by Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc., a non-profit that offers equine recreational programs to address a variety of emotional and physical disabilities. Some of Pal-O-Mine’s programs utilize horseback riding, but others, like Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, incorporate horses differently for educational and emotional growth and learning.

Once a week, eight to ten residents travel to Pal-O-Mine in Islandia, where a treatment team of mental health professionals and equine specialists encourage conversation as they observe the horses’ activity. The benefits of such interaction are evident. Staff members said that at one session, a resident noticed one horse standing alone, away from the other horses, and commented, “I bet he’s in a bad mood and doesn’t want to be around the others today.” From that remark, the group talked about how their moods affect their own behaviors. The treatment team uses metaphoric and therapeutic learning techniques in each session, and sometimes incorporates art projects to encourage self-expression.

Over the next 12 weeks, the residents learn basic horsemanship using the Parelli method to walk, back up, and groom the horses. They end up developing a relationship with the animals: the horses don’t threaten them, and the girls feel empowered as they return trust through exercising, feeding, and brushing the animals.  Steadily, as the girls take ownership of their actions and demonstrate responsibility, they gain self-confidence.  

Ellen Lear, a certified Equine Assisted Learning instructor at Pal-O-Mine, says that despite the challenging lives many of the young women have had, they are gentle with the animals and end up greatly benefitting from the therapy.

“Our horses may be the first beings they have ever made a deep connection with,” Lear said.

Lear says some residents start out resistant to the program. For instance, one young woman, Zoe, was a frustrated 15-year-old when she first came to Pal-O-Mine. For weeks, she did not talk to the others; Zoe expressed herself through creative art work, but did not approach the horses. Gradually, she began opening up to the experience, and by the time the next ten-week session started, Zoe was helping teach the new group of young women.

According to Brentwood Facility Director Valerie Fitts, the equine therapy aligns with the facility’s Anger Regression Training. The lessons the young women learn about controlling emotions around the horses help them at the facility, where the residents practice what they’ve learned and are more thoughtful in communicating with their peers.

In the small Upstate New York town of South Kortright, horse therapy of a slightly different kind is helping young men assigned to OCFS’s Youth Leadership Academy (YLA). What began as a one-time recreational opportunity has developed into ongoing therapeutic program. Golden Gait Farms of Masonville now brings horses to YLA for riding instruction on a regular basis.

Many of the youth were apprehensive about participating; some had never seen a horse up close, let alone ridden one. Horses typically weigh between 800 and 2,500 pounds, and learning to trust such a large and often intimidating animal requires patience, skill, and confidence. However, after several months of weekly sessions, the program has blossomed into one of the most popular and beneficial therapy enhancement programs at the facility. YLA youth are participating in a variety of advanced activities, including riding off-lead in the ring and learning to master different gaits. The program provides a multi-dimensional partnership between the cognitive behavioral clinicians on campus, case managers, direct-care staff and the youth who seek to increase self-awareness, confidence and improved psychological health.

Looking to the Future
Through the equine therapy program at YLA, youth have the opportunity to connect with local programs like the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Delaware County Fair Board to facilitate community involvement through exhibiting and competing. Many equine programs are statewide and can be continued when youth return to their home communities.

Written by: Susan J Steele

Assistant Director of Communications, NYS Office of Children and Family Services

For more about:

 New York State Office of Children and Family Services, visit
 Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc., visit
 Parelli Method, visit

Bringing good things to Pal-O-Mine

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Newsday, Long Island Business News, October 11-17, 2013 pg 53A

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