From the Participant . . .
"My takeaway: Is that horses have personalities and emotions very similar to people.
What I learned: Learning how to work with horses and lead them is helping to learn leadership skills. I gained more confidence to try new things and volunteer first, instead of being last, when asked.
The fun part: Being able to look forward to the class, every week, because it was a time I could have fun and not be so stressed or worry about anything. I could just go and have a good time with everyone, especially my horse. Also, just getting to be with the horses and learn about them." Micaela M.
From the Parent . . .
"During class one evening, I noticed a counselor really having to coax Micaela's horse ( Cherokee) to get him to go where the leader wanted. Katelyn, an instructor, said this, "Cherokee is a leader, so he has to be 100% sure you're a leader and you're going to lead him right."
I felt like God was telling me something . . . I had already been identifying strong leadership qualities in Micaela, but at the same time, I was frustrated with what I perceived to be stubbornness and obstinacy or just plain not listening to me. I realized that my own daughter was the same way as Cherokee!
As a busy single parent, I tend to absentmindedly throw directions out, or hurriedly give instructions. I realized that my daughter needs intent instruction and clear directives, so that she feels I'm in tune with her and I know what I'm talking about. This was truly a God "moment" for me and I seriously wanted to cry because of overwhelming emotion!" Lisa M.
* Youth and HORSES both test boundaries. As the youth work with the horses to learn limits, the youth assumes a position of authority and responsibility, possibly a new role for them. Being in this position allows the youth to see and develop empathy for their parents.
* From HORSES, the youth will learn how to build healthy relationships. If the youth is passive, withdrawn, aggressive or angry, there may be no horse response or the horse may not engage. If the youth is lying, cheating, or manipulative, the horse will not engage. Horses set a good example for youth. The goal is to have the horse choose to be led and be willing to respond positively in relationship. Their relationship becomes one that is mutually healthy.
* HORSES, though gentle, are large and powerful, creating opportunities for:
* Perceptive but non-judgmental, HORSES do not take notice of the youth's problematic background and perceived shortcomings. Horses provide a positive space to safely explore painful feelings and destructive behavior patterns.
* HORSES require care, presenting an opportunity to learn hard work. Youth learn the nature of responsibilities and of someone depending upon them. Again, this can be related to their relationship with their parents and other caregivers.
* HORSES have independent idiosyncratic personalities providing an opportunity to learn and practice patience, flexibility, and problem-solving skills.
Children and youth at risk can benefit from Ranch programs where our therapists incorporate horses and other animals to teach valuable life skills.
A word from our Clients...
Youth-at-risk are defined as youth at risk of social or academic failure. Based upon the youth's age and maturity, our counseling staff will recommend a method of counseling that is most suitable. From Play Therapy to Equine Assisted Counseling, the therapist will assist with designing goals and activities that will help the client move forward. Clients may be recommended for a Therapeutic Horsemanship group with peers of the same age and similar goals.
Sessions will focus on:
* Developing observation skills and importance of self-regulation
* Improving communication skills and learning how to build trust
* Learning about pressure and how it impacts self and others
* Learning about having responsibility and caring for others
* Overcoming obstacles, real and perceived
* Overcoming fears and understanding boundaries and limits
* Healthy competition and conflict resolution (in group setting only)
* Developing leadership skills (in group setting only)
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Paws for Reflection Ranch is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization.