Equine Reflections' Team
Equine Reflections' Staff
Bonny brings a lifelong love of horses, a passion for education and public service, and more than 35 years of experience in equine assisted therapies and activities to Equine Reflections. She previously served as Program Director for a local therapeutic riding center and Deep South Regional Director of the Black Stallion Literacy Program. She was also one of five people in the U.S. appointed to the first Sports Rules Committee to promote the Equestrian Division of the Special Olympics, for which she was Director and judge in Louisiana. As Owner/Manager of Carousel Farms for almost 15 years, she is regionally known and sought after for her training and instruction expertise, which includes equine safety and confidence building clinics for horse and rider, safety/balance seat riding instruction, and natural horsemanship and liberty training (she trained under Chris Cox). She has even supplied horses and taught actors to ride for two "Hollywood South" movies. Bonny is a certified American Association of Horsemanship Safety Riding Instructor, credentialed EAGALA Equine Specialist, and Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship member. She has been chosen to perform with her horse Baron Von Vendaval at Equine Affaire, the largest equestrian event in the U.S., representing the Georgian Grande breed throughout the Southeast. Bonny volunteers generously, appearing with her horses annually at Fishin’ Galore for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other charity events, as well as numerous regional hospitals, community centers and care facilities.
Michelle Boze-Toomey, Psy.D
Mental Health Director
Dr. Boze, licensed clinical psychologist and certified sport psychologist, brings her lifelong horsemanship skills and two decades of psychology expertise to serve as credentialed mental health professional for the EAGALA model psychotherapy program, Horses4Healing. In addition to her work with Equine Reflections clients, she provides psychotherapy services to youth and their families through private practice at Brighton Psychological Services LLC, as well as consultation and psychological assessments to geriatric rehabilitation center patients through Psychological Care Services LLC. She has previously served as psychologist for Mercer Family Center and Southeastern Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville, La. She was teaching assistant in Sport Psychopathology at Arizona School of Professional Psychology (Argosy), and Assistant to National Football League Psychologist for the New Orleans Saints. In spring of 2016, she was voted Northshore’s Best Psychologist in Sophisticated Woman Magazine for the third year.
Julie Ellsworth, LCSW, LLC
Credentialed Mental Health Professional
Julie Ellsworth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Master’s degree from Eastern Washington University in 2001. Her therapeutic expertise has focused on trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, self-harm, child abuse and neglect, sexual orientation, grief, and life issues. She works with children starting at age 5, adults and families. Julie provides a holistic and eclectic approach that is trauma focused. She has special training in Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ (TF-EAP) through Natural Lifemanship, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). She has a private practice in Pontchatoula, La., and has partnered with Equine Reflections, Inc., to provide TF-EAP services at its Carousel Farms location in Folsom, La. Her goal is to partner with her clients on their journey to healing and wellness.
Equine Reflections' Board of Directors
Equine Reflections, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit incorporated and registered in the State of Louisiana. Equine Reflections is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that meets throughout the year. Members represent a variety of career backgrounds and are committed to ensuring the financial security, ethical integrity and growth of the organization. The Board of Directors also manages resources, promotes and enhances Equine Reflections' public image, and monitors its programs. Equine Reflections is proud to have the following dedicated individuals serving as our Board of Directors:
Equine Reflections' Four-Legged Team
Horses have many innate characteristics -- including honesty, sensitivity, awareness, and ability with nonverbal communication -- which lend them to being uniquely effective agents of change. So the role of our horses in any of our equine assisted therapy, equine assisted learning and other equine assisted activity programs is to simply be themselves. But in being themselves, these equine partners are able to create relationships and experiences that can be life-changing in their positive impact.
The goal of EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) model sessions is for clients to interact with horses from the ground, observe the horses’ reactions to them, and then identify ways these reactions could be metaphors for something going on in the client’s life. In Natural Lifemanship TF-EAP (Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy) model sessions, the relationship with the horse is not a metaphor or proxy for a human relationship; rather, it’s a real relationship. It seeks a dynamic of mutual respect and trust, with self-regulation and good decision-making on both sides, essential for true connection and thus healing.
Regardless of their precise approaches, focuses or goals, all of our programs' positive impacts and effectiveness are at their root made possible by our team of equine partners.
That team is comprised of 12 (and counting!) horses, miniature horses and ponies -- rescued from situations, due to no fault of their own, of mistreatment, malnourishment, neglect and/or abandonment -- that we have rehabbed, retrained and repurposed into life-changing equine therapy and learning partners. They love each other, they love their their jobs, and most of all they love all the people they get to meet and help while doing their jobs!
Why horses? Click here to learn more!