News & Events

Calypso Bay’s Judi Hicklin Earns Equine-Assisted Learning Certification

Congratulations to long-time Calypso Bay Stables manager and trainer, Judy Hicklin, who recently became a certified Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.

Judi received her certification from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), a highly-respected equine credentialing organization that is dedicated to promoting safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs.

What is Equine-Assisted Learning?

According to the PATH Intl. website, “Equine-assisted learning (EAL) is an experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills for educational, professional and personal goals through equine-assisted activities… In an EAL setting, the experiential approach integrates equine-human interaction that is guided by a planned learning experience to meet the identified goals or desires of the participant(s). Working with equines provides opportunities to teach critical life skills such as trust, respect, honesty and communication.”

Helping People With Mental Health or Trauma-Related Disorders Connect & Thrive

Judi’s goal in becoming EAL-certified is to help military personnel and veterans who may be suffering from PTSD, trauma survivors, and others who have survived life-altering experiences to connect more effectively with themselves and the world around them.

Often, trauma victims are able to interact with horses in a way that frees them to explore their own feelings, behaviors, and interactions with others. Certified equine learning specialists such as Judi help people relate to horses in a warm, judgement-free, and therapeutic environment.

EAL instructors create a safe place for riders to bring emotions to the surface so their feelings can be acknowledged and worked through. The process often opens a path to a fully-engaged recovery.

Let’s Hear it for Judi!

Congratulations, Judi! We’re all so proud of you. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Judi yet, you really need to come out and visit our stables! Judi is an amazing riding instructor, trainer, and stable manager. With more than 40 years of experience working with horses as a trainer and instructor, she’s an invaluable resource. Plus, she’s absolutely dedicated to the horses, people, and children of Calypso Bay.

With Judi’s expert guidance, we look forward to starting our new our equine-assisted therapy program for adults and children. Party at Calypso Bay Stables.

We also hope you’ll consider our facilities for parties or special events. Our horse-themed birthday parties and events offer participants the opportunity to pet and feed our horses under professional supervision, a tour of our beautiful grounds, and access to a large air-conditioned party room.

Calypso Bay Stables offers something for riders of all experience levels and abilities. To learn more about our equine-assisted learning programs, parties, or to schedule a horseback riding lesson, give us a call at (727) 587-0024.

How to Prevent the Dangers of Too Much Screen Time

The average American spends about 11 hours a day staring at screens —ranging from smartphones and tablets to computers and televisions. And all that screen time may be doing more harm to your health than you realize. In fact, too much screen time can result in weight gain, insomnia, reduced attention span, and even vision problems.

Is it time for a digital detox?

If you find yourself instinctively grabbing for your phone to check social media or automatically turning on the TV as soon as you get home, it may be time for a digital detox. A good place to start is to track and limit the amount of screen time you and your family have each day.

From there, start exploring new hobbies that don’t involve electronic devices. Rather, look for activities that encourage hands-on interaction and experiences. Even better, look for outdoor opportunities that that allow you to experience nature and enjoy fresh air. Some studies show simply being outside helps improve attention span and reduces anxiety. Spending time outdoors also encourages exercise, which helps prevent weight gain while fostering better sleep.

Swap your screen time with some saddle time.

Chances are, if you count yourself as one of the many people who spend too much time in front a screen, you may not know where to begin when it comes to putting down your phone and venturing into the great outdoors. And that’s where horseback riding comes into play. Not only is this is a fun, unique way to spend time outdoors with friends and family, it’s also ideal for physical activity and learning new skills.

“There are so many benefits from horseback riding,” says Judi Hicklin, manager and trainer at Calypso Bay Stables in Lago, Florida. “The sport offers a full-body workout by improving your strength, flexibility, and coordination. It also helps children develop into confident, well-rounded young adults.”

Hicklin, who is a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, has been working around horses for more than 40 years and providing riding lessons for more than 20 years. As a result, she knows firsthand how riding can help those with mental health or learning issues. She says spending time with horses offers therapeutic and mental benefits by enhancing your patience, problem-solving skills, self-esteem, and compassion, just to name a few.

Ready to get started?

Calypso Bay Stables offers something for all experience levels and interests. They also support and encourage all riding disciplines—including hunter-jumper, dressage, and western-style riding. To learn more and schedule a horseback riding lesson, call (727) 587-0024.

Horsey Happenings

Welcome GQ! Our newest boarder at Calypso Bay is a beautiful Bay Thoroughbred Gelding. Looking for a local stable here in Pinellas? Calypso Bay can help.