Tango

(2006 – )
Owned by The Equus Effect
Inducted: 2021

Photos

Tango had been at the top of his game as an eventing horse but his life, as he knew it, came to an abrupt halt in 2013 when he had a severe accident that injured his shoulder. Jane Strong, Founder of The Equus Effect, met Tango for the first time in a pasture where he had been retired by his young owner.

Both their fortunes changed that fall, when Jane was moving to her own facility and wanted to start a small herd to run her program for veterans. For Jane, she found the perfect horse to help provide men and women in uniform (veterans and first responders) with essential tools to meet life's challenges and re-build healthy relationships. For Tango, he found a new career where he could use his very special talents in ways he had not used them before.

Jane recognized Tango's incredible ability to settle people down who are making their way back from traumatic events; many of whom are terrified of horses. Tango seems to get that these folks need a big presence who is paradoxically, the most gentle and kindest of souls.

Veterans and first responders have already raised their hands and said that they would be willing to give their lives to protect us, but when they return from military service or from emergencies that can happen on a daily basis, they do not feel like heroes. They see themselves in terms of buddies they lost in battle, who they could not save and who is still in harm's way while they are safe at home.

As a high-performance horse, Tango was trained to please, hates making mistakes and is extremely sensitive to signals and non-verbal communication. Having been injured, Tango also seems to understand that healing happens in fits and starts.

In his job of working on the ground with participants, he recognizes the need for compassion when it arises. Jane said, "With clients who are really upset, Tango prefers to be left alone and gives us the 'eye' if we interfere." If someone is still carrying a lot of adrenaline, Tango reads and responds with bigger-than-life reactions in the round pen. He is invaluable at helping people recognize their own inner landscapes and shows them what’s really going on honestly and without judgment. He responds to even the most tentative attempts to work with him. He anticipates what people want and does it without asking clients to be too precise. He understands the 'try' and helps build confidence in people who are just coming home to themselves.

There is no measure for the value of compassion, non-judgment and self-awareness that a clear channel like Tango can bring to people who have lost hope. His kind, blue eyes, willingness to yield, extraordinary patience, compassion, and sensitivity builds trust and confidence in those who have lost touch with themselves for a long time. He appears to see right into their hearts and knows intuitively how to make them feel safe so the healing process can begin.

One veteran who had been in Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq told us that Tango gave him, "The transition from war to peace that I never got". Another told us that Tango had showed him he didn't really need his "keep away from me" tattoos any longer.

"He is truly a master," said Jane. "That's the only explanation we have for his phenomenal intuition and willingness to stay in the game for as long as someone needs him to 'hold a compassionate space for them to make peace with themselves”.