The Birth of Spring Reins of Hope...

The genesis of Spring Reins of Hope / Growth, like many dreams, began with a notion, a yearning, and a desire to fulfill one's destiny. Officially launched in 2009, the road traveled from conception to inception has been a few years of hard work, amazing breakthroughs, synchronicities and several lessons on faith. No mistaking it, there have been numerous obstacles to face and overcome. Yet there has always been a series of consistent signs, or clues to guide us towards our goals ahead; continuously helping us to locate the light at the end of our tunnel.

Capra and Spring after XC run at Oxbow, 2001In 2006, co-founder, Christianna Capra discovered EAGALA through her beloved retired event horse, Spring Thaw, who had become chronically ill with Lyme disease. Illness led us to "the much respected and nearly impossible to get an appointment with"...Dr. Judith Shoemaker, DVM, who did indeed cure our Lyme disease problem, she also tipped us off to EAGALA, saying that this horse (once he was well) would be an incredible healer. Upon introduction to EAGALA, Capra knew that she had finally found the calling for a career, and ultimately her life's work. The next 3 years took a winding yet poignant path of physical healing, certification process, emotional healing, searching for the right Mental Health Professional to partner with, envisioning the scope of this work, and moving forever forward with the idea that somehow this business would be launched.

In December 2008, after several compelling phone and email chats, Capra and Dr. Katsamanis made plans to meet at Spring's barn (Capra liked the idea that Katsamanis was as interested to the meet the horse as much as the human part of the team). Once in person and face-to-face, these two professional and horse loving women felt an immediate connection and a magnetic draw to this union. It was ultimately Spring who made the decision clear. Upon meeting Dr. Katsamanis he showed his unmistakable approval, trust and cooperation that "this" would be our triad treatment team.

What's in a Name?

For nearly two years Capra would envision many things about this program, calling it XYZ Program, because no matter how hard she tried no appropriate name would come. Shortly after meeting Karavidas, two words arrived from her - Spring Reins - we stayed with this for a while. Not much later after that, the - of Hope - came in as the completion.

"Spring" represents the season of growth, rebirth, new beginnings, a clean slate, etc. If you start looking at the word Spring the several definitions are synonymous with the work we do in EAL and EAP: To become resilient or elastic, to come into being, to leap or jump suddenly, to make a great leap forward, to produce or disclose suddenly or unexpectedly, to release or cause to be released from confinement.

Synonyms for the word Spring are also interesting to us: Rise, Arise, Emanate, Emerge, Originate, Flow, Proceed, and Stem. And lastly but not in the least, it is the name of a horse who has guided this entire vision from the beginning - Spring Thaw.

"Reins" are the communication line between horse and rider, and while there is no riding involved with EAL and EAP the work is largely based on communication lines between the horses and the humans. Also Reins - when spoken, sounds like "rains." Every year the spring rains signify a life force where gentle warming rains act as the jumpstart for rebirth, new growth and new beginnings of the season.

"of Hope", came to us one night while driving home from the barn to NYC, the phrase from a song kept ringing in Capra's head - "what the world needs now, is love, sweet love." She remembers thinking, with the economy in a mess, job loss at its peak, the never ending war, and so much widespread suffering - what the world really needs now is HOPE! A good healthy dose of hope, could bring us back to the love that heals. We added "Growth" to the name in 2010 to serve our EAL populations and also because we realized that Hope leads to the openness for fostering real changes that allows us to connect to our personal and professional "growth" in mind, body and spirit.

"Getting to the Horse of the Matter", came to us while Capra was doing some meditations with her horse atop a high but small hill that looks out over the entire landscape. The tag line had originated as "getting the heart of the matter" based on a truly magnificent photograph that was taken of Capra's two horses' posturing the exact moment they first met.

A photograph taken by Artist Michael Colavito truly captured the moment of recognition between two horses. The way in which the horses are looking at each other was intense and the arch of their necks and chest, suggested that of a heart. Being that EAL and EAP is focused on getting to root of the problem or issue - it seemed like a good fit to have "getting the heart of the matter" as a tag line. Until...

One day while up on top of this special hill with her horse, Capra witnessed him lie down and put his head flat against the ground, he lay there motionless for several minutes. Then he moved his position, while still laying flat on his side, he arched his head and neck and pulled his feet together so that where they met it came to a point. From an aerial perspective he was making a heart with his body. Then he made eye contact with Capra as if to say, "do you get it, see my heart, I am horse, see my heart"... Walking down the winding and steep path from the hill that day, Capra said out loud - Getting to the Horse of the Matter, and it stuck. We now had a name, something to call ourselves.

Our Logo

After smelling each other's scent on Capra for over a year, the day came when the new horse (Dane) would meet the veteran in the family (Spring). The photograph capturing this magical moment was taken by Artist Michael Colavito on a beautiful September day and shows clearly the recognition between the two horses. Normally there would have been a fly mask on Spring while in his turnout which would have changed the image completely, and for whatever reason, on this day there wasn't one. The way in which the two horses are looking at each other and the arch of their necks and chest, suggests a heart. With our name and tag line established we wanted to somehow utilize the energy from this photograph to create our logo. Artist Libby Corbin, whom Capra has known for several years as a practitioner of Therapeutic Massage and Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST) for the horses, was recruited to render the photograph into a logo image. Seeing the logo for the first time was really a cathartic moment for us, it was as if all this work and preparation to get this off the ground was all so worth it. Now looking at our logo, it all began to feel real. We now had a face, an image to live by.

The process to become real

During the spring / summer 2009 we thought we would be seeing clients since it had already taken 2 years to get certified, another year of searching out the right partnership, another several months to find a facility that would accept the EAL / EAP practice to take place on their property, we thought we were done with the waiting and the overcoming of obstacles. We knew we would need to register an LLC and get insurance coverage, but then we also realized that we needed presentation materials and a website.

Capra on the donned SROH couch ready to crack, 2009Both Capra and Katsamanis will attest that as we began to draw up an outline for "what we do" neither had the intention of spending an entire summer (and relinquishing many perfect weather riding days) to arduously put our shared dream/vision on paper. Creating the content for this program and website was not easy, in fact it was a most long and painful labor (of love) that we both hope will never need to birth again.

As summer turned into fall, we were really almost done when it became apparent that what we had created could not be a "do-it-yourself" website, and the kind of website we needed would cost a lot of money to produce. So now what? Artist Colavito, offered one of his expensive limited edition prints as a barter deal - if we could find one. Thus enters Spry Marketing (Austin, TX) to our rescue. True professionals who loved the art, and our project - came forward to help us launch. This is when our team realized that we really were on the right path, and that we need to keep pushing, keep trying, to never give up because this is what we are supposed to be doing.

Precious Timing

One thing that can be so frustrating to learn once you do find your purpose or calling in life, is to then wait for the right time to take action on it or to see anything develop even though you are diligently working to make it happen. When Capra discovered this work, she wanted to be in the arena with a group of people the next day! Hindsight is always a great friend, in that several things had to line up in order for us to launch and with a solid foundation and support system. There were a few signs that helped to support this belief.

On an airplane from Rancho Mirage, CA to NYC in 2008, Capra was on the red-eye and couldn't sleep, so instead she wrote a story to send in as an entry for a contest from The Angel Animal Network titled, Horses With a Mission. Capra wrote, and wrote on that flight, putting down her story about how instrumental her horse had been to putting her on a destiny path. The story was submitted and got an honorable mention in the contest. Then it went even further and made it into the final book, published by New World Library and released in September 2009. This story details all of the signs that were laid out like breadcrumbs for discovering this path, and the breadcrumb spreader was none other than a very wise, 4 legged friend. The simple fact that this book was released in the fall of 2009 and Spring Reins of Hope is in it, launching at the same time seemed auspiciously fun. Please read the excerpted story here on this site: Excerpt from New World Library (2009) Horses With A Mission; Extrodinary Ture Stories of Equine Service.

Next came getting the word out. For nearly 14 years, Capra has earned a living by doing marketing and public relations in NYC. She began to mention to her close media relationships that the dream was about to become a reality and many of them volunteered to interview us for our launch. Before we knew it we had over 20 radio stations who wanted to help introduce Spring Reins of Hope to the world. To us this was another sign that we were finally ready.

We now have our master healer well and ready to work, we have developed a synergy between our team that will carry over to the work, we have our name, we have our tagline and logo, and we have a beautiful facility and property to work at where the horses are happy and healthy. We now have several horses to work with (most of them rescues) and there will be more on the way. We have a launch plan and date of 11/11/2009 - and realizing that all this has come to a head, we have a great team, we are focused and ready to complete the mission by doing the work.

Timing is an interesting thing. Had we rushed to open a program in 2006, a lot could have gone wrong. So in the sake of waiting for the right time, and in that there is a right time for everything. We share this idea with you in case you are ever in a rush to get something done. Sometimes urgency is imperative, and sometimes patience and focus is the remedy for a well built and supported plan.

So our doors and hearts are now open. We hope to hear from you, meet you and help you with your life path and journey. The horses really do know what they are doing with this work and they are here to help. Come and see what they can do for you, your relationships, your family, your business and your happiness.

May Peace always be with you
May Love surround you
May your path be illuminated and guided by the light
May you never lose HOPE
May you always have room to GROW

~ The Human and Equine Hybrid Team at Spring Reins of Hope / Growth ~