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Horsepower and Heroes Retreat

Navigating COVID-19 together

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Horsepower and Heroes logo of horse and U.S. flagUnderstandably, the novel coronavirus pandemic has many people concerned. As we all navigate the impact of COVID-19, we’ve made some decisions about events at The PEACH Pit to keep our visitors, therapists and clients safe.

We’re postponing the Horsepower and Heroes Retreat, scheduled for May 1-3; we’ll post here when we set the new dates for the retreat.

We’re also suspending group volunteer activities. We will continue to accept individual volunteers, and we’ll continue to see clients since the majority of our sessions are outdoors in open-air settings that maintain a safe distance from others. 

Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you protect yourself physically and emotionally:

  • Limit your intake of media. Repeated exposure to the same stressful event can exacerbate your stress response. It’s good to stay in the know, but consider limiting your ingestion of news media, especially if you are starting to feel overwhelmed.
  • Take care of your body. Drink lots of water, eat healthy and continue with your normal exercise routine.
  • Make time to relax. With the news of any large scale adverse event, there is an inherent sense of urgency. We can get wrapped up the energy of outside actors (newscasters, politicians, fundraisers, etc.). Constant vigilance is not good for your body. To counteract it, use your relaxation coping skills like breathing, journaling or listening to music.
  • Talk about it. Connect with others about how you’re feeling and what concerns you have. Connect with them about other things, too. There’s no reason to stop living your life.
  • Take appropriate precautions to keep yourself healthy. Follow the CDC guidelines for prevention: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face and avoid contact with people known to be sick. 

If you find that you are having a difficult time coping or that you are feeling overwhelmed, please reach out. Our counseling sessions can help, and you’ll be able to maintain a safe social distance, as well.

A big ask

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Two days into the new year, we sent out notice that registration was open for our spring Horsepower and Heroes Retreat for women Veterans.

Horsepower and Heroes logo of horse and U.S. flagIn 24 hours, 112 women Veterans had registered for 15 slots. That’s wonderful and, at the same, sad.

Wouldn’t it be great if all of them could attend and decompress and be among other women Veterans?

What if you could make that happen? Would you?

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to The PEACH Pit to help us help our Veterans. Think of it as a way of thanking them for their service.

You can donate on our website and via GA Gives. The GA Gives donations specifically go toward our retreat. You can also mail a check to PO Box 891, Fort Valley, GA 31030, and put “Retreat” in the memo area.

Thank you for helping us help those who served.

On Giving Tuesday, or any day, give (please)

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The PEACH Pit’s primary goal is to provide affordable mental health care for those in need. We believe no one should have to struggle to pay for this basic need.

On this day, please consider helping us help others. We know you have many worthy causes to consider. Please make The PEACH Pit one of them.

If you’re military, retired military, a federal civilian or retired federal civilian, please consider donating through the Combined Federal Campaign. Our CFC number is 27220.

No amount is too small, and, of course, no amount is too large. You also can volunteer your time.

#GAGives on #GivingTuesday: Help us help Veterans

#GivingEagala: Help us provide affordable mental health care

Thank you.

Donation video transcript

Video: Horsepower and Heroes Retreat news coverage

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This nonprofit organization is bringing a different kind of therapy to Central Georgia

By Taylor Drake, WMAZ

Published: 10:51 PM EDT May 6, 2019

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — At the end of a dirt road off of River Road in Fort Valley sits a farm with a few cabins, some horses, and a couple of stray chickens.

The land belongs to Gwendolyn Coley, the founder of The PEACH Pit. The Peach Pit, founded in 2014, is a nonprofit organization that works to provide equine assisted psychotherapy to people in Central Georgia.

“Horses are my heart,” says Coley. “I use equine assisted psychotherapy to help people but also work with horses.”

Horse therapy is an alternative for people who may not want to talk about their problems.

“Horses are naturally reflective,” says Coley. “You can talk to the horses if you choose to. They don’t speak any language that we truly understand, but they can help solve some of your problems.”

In addition to working with clients on an individual level, Coley and her team host retreats and events for groups.

Last weekend, The PEACH Pit hosted its third Horsepower and Heroes Retreat for women veterans. The three-day retreat means a lot to Coley, who is an Army veteran herself.

“Sometimes, we’re invisible. There are a lot of programs out there to help men. To have women come here and just be, we don’t get enough of that time,” says Coley.

At the retreat, women participated in several activities like meditation and yoga to relax and get in touch with themselves.

Coley’s organization gives back to the Fort Valley community, but has still remained a well-kept secret.

“Every time I accept a speaking engagement, people are like, ‘I didn’t know you were here!” Coley says.

With her equine therapy, Coley is also trying to de-stigmatize and therapy.

“That is one of our big goals,” says Coley. “There’s no harm in getting help — in fact, it can be helpful to get help.”

At the end of the day, Coley loves seeing clients improve with the help of her horses.

“We’ve had people come in with some really complicated stories,” says Coley. “They come here and start seeing results immediately. That amazes me every single time.”

To learn more about Coley and The PEACH Pit, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

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