HHRF Welcomes Alden to Board of Directors

The Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF), an international research foundation, has added Ann Alden, MA, to its board of directors. Alden, an Arizona resident since 1972, brings a well-rounded perspective to HHRF as a result of her multi-faceted education and extensive experience with nonprofits and equine organizations.

HHRF funds research to advance equine assisted activities and therapies (EAA/T). To date, HHRF has raised funds and awarded grants for seven rigorous, competitively awarded research projects investigating EAA/T’s impact on the health and wellness of people. As owner, director and facilitator of the Borderlands Center for Equine Assisted Services, Alden has worked on the frontlines of EAA/T and knows how research is applied in the arena.

Alden founded Borderlands in Sonoita, AZ in 2009 as a host site for workshops to train professionals in equine-facilitated learning and/or psychotherapy. She is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International certified instructor, a certified equine specialist in mental health and learning, a certified equine interaction professional in education, and a faculty member for the PATH International Equine Specialist workshop and for Adventure in Awareness. Alden has been a head instructor and program director for CANTER and she founded a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (now PATH) accredited center in Tucson, Ariz., in 1992. She is past president of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association and she worked at the pioneering Sierra Tucson Hospital as an equine specialist in the equine-facilitated psychotherapy program’s adolescent unit in 1991-92.

Alden brings a rich educational background to HHRF’s Board. She holds a BA in psychology from Tulane University, a BS in ecology and evolutionary biology, and a Master’s degree in special education and rehabilitation from the University of Arizona. She has been involved in conducting EAA/T research, including “The Effects of EFL (Equine-Facilitated Learning) Interactions on the Heart Rate Variability, Coherence and Stress Levels in People,” published this year by researchers from the University of Arizona.

“I have witnessed a child with autism speak his first words on a trail ride, an adult with multiple sclerosis leave his wheelchair behind and walk with just a cane, and veterans share feelings for the first time ever after participating in equine assisted activities and therapies,” Alden said. “I have longed for well-designed research to validate the power of the healing horses can provide us and to determine which specific interventions are most effective, appropriate, humane, and safe for all participants.”

“We are very grateful for Ann’s participation on the board,” noted HHRF board president Lynn Shaw. “Her life’s experiences give her insight into many things that HHRF is concerned with, from equine therapy and instruction to research and nonprofits. Research is advancing quickly and a strong board to guide our growth and strategy is essential.”

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