Almost 7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and one in ten adults aged 65 and older live with dementia. Connected Horse counters the hallmark isolation and depression so often experienced by both those living with the disease and their care partners through research-informed equine programs. Program participants report reduced feelings of anxiety and depression, build confidence, and improve relationships. The workshops with the horses help them feel whole again.
Our research-informed programming with horses as teachers improves the lives of people affected by dementia and their care partners together.
We honor each individual where they are. Our sense of self remains in us throughout life.
We strengthen social bonds through engagement, stress reduction, and nonverbal communication and encourage a growth mindset.
We learn from the horses. They respond to and mirror non-verbal communication and emotions. Through observation and interactions with the horses, who live “in the moment,” participants receive feedback and increase their awareness and connections.
Improving access to social engagement is a core tenant of our program. We have an outreach team to help people get to workshops and to reach those who cannot attend in person with our At-Home programs. We contribute to the growing professional field of therapeutic equine support.
Founders Nancy Schier Anzelmo, MSG, and Paula Hertel, MSW, are lifelong equestrians and experts in aging and elder care. They developed Connected Horse based on their theory that guided interactions with horses could strengthen primary social bonds and activate social engagement for people with dementia and their care partners. In collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Alzheimer’s Disease Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, and Center for Equine Health and at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Red Barn Leadership Program, they assessed the promise of the workshops. Paula and Nancy continue to innovate and expand the beneficial reach of Connected Horse through Connected Horse At-Home programming and the Training Institute.
Stanford Research Project Launch
Stanford Research Project LaunchJune 1, 2015
Completed Stanford Research
Completed Stanford ResearchJune 1, 2016
Presented Findings at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC)
Presented Findings at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC)July 26, 2016
UC Davis Research Launch
UC Davis Research LaunchJune 1, 2017
Incorporated as a Non-Profit
Incorporated as a Non-ProfitSeptember 1, 2017
Launched Pilot at Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center in Orinda, CA
Launched Pilot at Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center in Orinda, CAOctober 1, 2017
Castro Valley Barn Launch
Castro Valley Barn LaunchJuly 1, 2018
Barn Launch: Kids n Horses in Minden, NV
Barn Launch: Kids n Horses in Minden, NVJune 1, 2019
First Facilitator Training
First Facilitator TrainingJuly 1, 2019
Moved to Five Star Equestrian Center in Pleasanton, CA
Moved to Five Star Equestrian Center in Pleasanton, CAJune 1, 2020
Three Horse Farms Launch
Three Horse Farms LaunchJuly 1, 2020
Sensory Engagement Kit Program Begins
Sensory Engagement Kit Program BeginsJune 1, 2021
Online Fundraiser: Connections for Hope
Online Fundraiser: Connections for HopeJuly 1, 2021
Partnership with Mentia: DevaWorld, Digital Barn
Partnership with Mentia: DevaWorld, Digital BarnJune 22, 2022
Adult Day Center Programs: CollabriaCare and ASEB
Adult Day Center Programs: CollabriaCare and ASEBJanuary 22, 2023
Inaugural Live Fundraiser Event, Lassos with Love
Inaugural Live Fundraiser Event, Lassos with LoveJuly 7, 2023