Beth Long and New Day Achievement

by Pat Moynahan on November 9, 2017

Beth Long, founder and CEO of New Day Achievement Program.

Beth Long, founder and CEO of New Day Achievement Program.

FLORENCE – Horses don’t lie. They don’t mask their feelings.

They don’t talk back or judge you if you pour out your innermost thoughts.

And, they’re loving, caring and sensitive.

“We use that natural relationship as a mirror to help people overcome their relationship problems,” says Beth Long, founder and CEO of New Day Achievement Program.

New Day offers equine assisted therapies at Meadowview Farm in Union. The non-profit’s programs range from equine-facilitated psychotherapy to therapeutic riding to grief/loss intervention, Long told the Florence Rotary Club at a recent luncheon.

Long, left a position as executive director of the R.C. Durr YMCA in 2010 to start New Day. She since has earned Professional Association for Therapeutic Riding International (PATH) and Certified Horsemanship Association certifications and assembled a staff with three other PATH instructors ad three equine specialists in mental health and learning.

New Day moved to Meadowview Farm earlier this year to expand its operations. The 165-acre farm has seven paddocks, ample space for New Day’s stable of 11 horses.

“We like to come alongside people of all ages and help them overcome life challenges,” Long says in a promotional video for New Day.

The behaviors of horses and their methods of communication mimic the complex relationships of people, she said. However, horses don’t pose the kinds of social pressures that interfere with traditional forms of psychotherapy.

New Day matches the personalities of their horses with the personalities of children they treat. Horses and children exhibit the same body language and “the horse listens and responds to the body language of the child,” Long said.

The relationship between horse and child relieves anxiety, builds confidence and helps the child (or adult) overcome self-protection issues. Equine therapy and traditional therapy thus complement each other, according to Dr. Jean Peters, a clinical psychologist on the New Day board of directors.

“We’ve seen remarkable changes not seen in the office for months, even years sometimes,” she said.

For example, one young girl treated for anxiety now goes to school with a lock of hair from her horse partner on her book bag as a confidence builder, Long said.

The horse is now just part of her family.