WellEquined Hosts First Equine-Assisted Mental Wellness Retreat for Former Athletes


Dr. Dawn Whitaker, WellEquined

The successful inaugural event sets the stage for future positive impact in the lives of former athletes.

We saw breakthroughs, epiphanies, and expressions of total peace. This was everything we had hoped for, and I couldn’t be happier with the responses we received.”

— Dr. Dawn Whitaker

LOS ANGELES, CA , 90049, July 3, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — During the third weekend of June, WellEquined hosted its inaugural mental wellness retreat, marking a significant milestone in its mission to provide welcoming and approachable mental health support for former athletes. The event brought together a small, intimate group to ensure a personalized and impactful experience for each participant.

Curated by athlete transition expert Dr. Dawn Whitaker, WellEquined combines equine-assisted psychotherapy with Harmonyum Healing and mindfulness practices to promote emotional regulation and enhance the well-being of former athletes. The program also provides an environment for participants to bond with peers who share similar experiences and understand the unique challenges faced by athletes as they navigate life after sport.

“The well-being of our athlete participants is paramount,” remarked Whitaker. “We prioritize privacy and create a safe space for attendees to comfortably explore their emotions and begin their healing journey.”

The group included a diverse mix of former professional and collegiate athletes from basketball, swimming, and track and field backgrounds, representing both male and female participants.

Morgan, a former women’s college basketball athlete, shared how the experience influenced her journey towards emotional and mental well-being by encouraging her to “be more open-minded to talk about my thoughts and feelings. For me, it’s a lot easier to do activities like this instead of an office-based session.”

Throughout the experience, attendees engaged in therapeutic sessions designed to facilitate emotional breakthroughs and promote mental wellness. This holistic approach allowed former athletes to reconnect with themselves, discover new ways to manage their emotions, and gain clarity in decision-making during times of uncertainty and adjustment.

Common themes among participants included the need for structure and leadership, and the challenge of letting go of control. One participant shared, “I need a coach. I need a team. I need to be shown the play, so watching others go in front of me allowed me to see and process it all.” Another noted, “The biggest equine presented a challenge and he didn’t want to let me in. He helped me realize that when I stop trying to control and force things, they will naturally happen the way I want them to.”

Dr. Vallerie Coleman, the lead psychologist and equine facility Director, encouraged participants to “take these lessons that the equines have shared with you into your life once you leave these gates.” Jessica, the program’s Harmonyum practitioner, added, “You must allow your body time to process the emotions without thinking. This is exactly what Harmonyum has been designed to do.”

Attendees bonded over shared experiences, from team dynamics and playing styles to missing the game and struggles with transitioning to new careers. Through the reflective nature of the equines, participants gained insights into their underlying traits and behaviors, enabling them to recognize and overcome barriers. They emerged from the equine-assisted sessions feeling more self-aware, relaxed, and better prepared to face their personal challenges with renewed clarity and confidence.

“We saw breakthroughs, epiphanies, and expressions of total peace,” shared Dr. Whitaker. “This was everything we had hoped for, and I couldn’t be happier with the responses we received. Seeing these former athletes feel comfortable enough to make real connections, share their emotions, and realize they aren’t alone touched my heart. This insight will guide them towards a more fulfilling future, aligned with their purpose, values, and strengths.”

WellEquined is pleased to announce that the next immersive retreat experience will take place in late September. Those interested in participating are invited to join the interest list at www.wellequined.com or contact info@wellequined.com to stay informed about future experiences and special events.

Dr. Dawn Whitaker
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