By Summer Wyatt Bacharach

A Horse Welfare grant brought 4-Star Licensed Parelli Professional Elli Pospischil to ACTT Naturally’s New York facility this past June. During her time at ACTT Naturally, Elli taught a clinic to volunteers, ultimately helping volunteers to better aid the horses and participants in Hearts in Harmony and other programs provided by ACTT Naturally.

Hearts in Harmony is an equine assisted learning/healing program that includes their off-track thoroughbreds. The program is designed for Veterans and their families, first responders, teens, and anyone else in need of healing. Designed around Parelli’s 7 games, participation teaches participants about mutual respect, healthy boundaries, self-esteem, compassion, trust, and much more.

ACTT Naturally and YMCAACTT Naturally also works together with the local YMCA for our summer Camp Lend-A-Hand, the local Girl Scouts, and Julie Krone’s Junior Jockey Camp.

What participants had to say:

“Being an auditor for Elli’s Parelli clinic was a remarkable experience. I never thought I could learn so much from listening and observing since I have always considered myself a hands-on learner. This was only one of many lessons I was able to take away from the clinic held at Long Shadows.

“Each participant held different perceptions of Elli’s instructions, resulting in numerous different individual experiences unfolding right in front of your eyes. Each one of these interactions was a lesson for me. It was extremely interesting to see the different levels of comprehension from the horse participants as well. Again, what their partner was comfortable with and their understanding of what Elli was instructing them through, both, led to different responses from each horse. From each of these situations, there was something for me to take away. What to do, what not to do, how to ask, how not to ask, etc.

ACTT Naturally“Elli did a wonderful job at making sure each participant was comfortable and understanding of not only what they may have been asking their horse to do, but why and how to ask. She made sure to give each participant individualized focus and attention based on that individuals goal. There was even an exercise where the whole group joined together to help one individual and her horse overcome a basic obstacle to create a building block for them as a herd of 2.

“Becoming a herd of 2 is a concept ACTT Naturally achieves in its Hearts in Harmony program while practicing natural horsemanship. The herd of 2 concept teaches and reflects trust, confidence, leadership and mutual respect. The clinic was a knowledgeable opportunity for effective leadership and emotional fitness, as well as body language communication. These are all concepts we touch upon during Hearts and Harmony programs. By observing the clinic with Elli, I picked up on some ways to better help people who come through our program to make that connection and answer their questions more clearly.

“Being subject to this Parelli clinic I was able to take in the whole clinic from the outside and learned what a little consistency and pressure can teach. Not only for the horses but for the human participants as well. I am truly grateful for this unique experience. It has opened my eyes from the perception I have, always working from the ground. This has opened my mind on communication both interpersonal and body language. I cannot Thank Elli enough for her fun and enthusiasm during her visit with us. We hope to have her back real soon!” – Rachel Barkley-ACTT Naturally Volunteer

“I was able to learn so much during the clinic with Elli, which has helped me in working with the horses for our Hearts in Harmony programs. I understand the program so much more after participating in the clinic.” – Haviah-ACTT Naturally Volunteer

We are proud to assist organizations like ACTT Naturally through our grant programs. Discover more about our program opportunities at

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