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Equine Therapy A Success For Community Based Programs


Photo of Excelsior client enjoying first equine experience

By: Kristen Protasiewicz M.A., LPC, Therapist for Day Treatment and Community Based Programming

This summer was our first ever Equine Therapy program with our Community Based Services (CBS) girls. Horseback Miracles has a unique

take on Equine Therapy wherein Terry Draper (CEO) uses kinesiology theory combined with more traditional talk therapy (facilitated along with Excelsior therapist) to zero in on the major presenting issues. Clients each week discuss successes and challenges they had that week within their family and community. Most often the issues that the Equine Therapist picks up on are the same being worked on in both individual and family therapies, so there is also a reinforcing effect. Along with the equine aspect, the clients also work as a team to complete ranch chores (mucking stalls, feeding horses) and hike along the nearby wooded stream/waterfall. The social aspect includes a van ride together to/from Excelsior and has been especially helpful to some of our more socially challenged clients.

The clients in the photos have had some substantial growth connected to the equine program. Client A (pictured with stuffed animals and glasses) has never worn jeans in her life due to sensory issues, but since being in our program now has a favorite pair of jeans which she wore every week. She went from being afraid to get on the horse to fully participating in the riding aspect of the program within a few weeks. Her (adoptive) parents attended the family day and cried when they saw all that she could do. She went from repeatedly stating "I can't, I can't" to now saying "I can do this" in our 10 weeks together.

With a successful Equine Parent Day under our belts, we are hoping to pilot an Equine Family Therapy program with some of very interested families this fall.