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Stable Survivors Project
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Stable Survivors, a new project designed by Healing Arenas, Inc., will address the emotional well-being of the area’s underserved Veterans population and their families. Julie Baker of Healing Arenas said the project will kick off with an Open House on Thursday, June 25 at the Healing Arenas ranch, 31345 Combs Road in Escalon.

Healing Arenas, Inc. is a California nonprofit corporation and this new initiative pairs EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association – ( certified mental health professionals and equine professionals, with adoptable retired racehorses in a program to help veterans adapt to civilian life.

“Horses help with transitions that humans experience throughout life. Overcoming the emotional obstacles, feeling accepted, valued and empowered are essential steps in the recovery process of achieving a full life outside of active duty,” explained Baker, Founder and President of Healing Arenas, Inc. “We are looking forward to providing tools for veterans and their families to reconnect and succeed while helping the horses prepare for new careers after racing.”

Baker emphasized that “people connect with horses in a way that cannot be duplicated inside an office.”

The horses are non-judgmental and provide realistic metaphors that soldiers can relate to.

“I believe the former racehorses (who have their own stories) are the added benefit to providing these services,” Baker explained. “The addition of a rural atmosphere is the environment our servicemen/women need to renew, refresh and support each other.”

The Healing Arenas, Inc. ( mission is “to support emotional healing through equine interaction and provide safe and restorative homes for retired racehorses.”

Established as a non-profit 501c3 organization, it is sponsored in part by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF). It is the first program in the country to exclusively utilize retired racehorses for emotional healing. The TRF was established in 1983 to save retired racehorses from neglect and abuse.

The June 25 Open House will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an opening ceremony and a live demonstration of the program to introduce the “Stable Survivors” project. Among the local groups expected to be on hand are American Legion, Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars representatives.

The “Stable Survivors” project benefits both horse and human, Baker added, much like other projects offered by Healing Arenas, such as the Stable Kids Project for at-risk youth and Second Chances California, a project assisting Stanislaus County Probation Department for probationers. EAGALA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization developed in 1999 to address the need for resources, education and professionalism in the fields of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning.

“We are pleased to be kicking off our new Veterans Project in Escalon on June 25,” Baker said, adding she is also happy that veterans will be a part of the celebration. “This will be attended by the (Escalon) American Legion Post 263, who will be raising our colors for the first time. There will be a Medal Ceremony for a Korean Vet and also attending is Mike Anderson, Representative for Congressman Jeff Denham, a wonderful advocate for veterans in our area.”

The public is welcome to attend the Open House on Thursday, June 25 at the Combs Road ranch to learn more about the program.