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Medicine Horse Center

For 20 years we nurtured and shared the power of connection with a horse, sowing seeds of change to see oneself from a different perspective. Your contribution will help provide access to mental health services and social-emotional support youth and community need on their path to emotional wellness

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Professional Development

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
At-Risk Populations
General population
Teachers

Description

Trauma-Informed Care (2.5 hours) Virtual or On-site
This training is grounded in an understanding of how the effects of trauma and toxic stress impact the physical, emotional and mental health of youth. Strategies given help promote a culture of safety, empowerment and healing. If taken on-site, unmounted work with the horses assists participants in understanding the trauma brain and practicing staying grounded when confronted with the fight, flight or freeze response in others.

Behavior Management Strategies (1.5 Hours) Virtual or On-site
This training compliments Trauma-Informed Care and highlights strategies for challenging behaviors. Learn how adults escalate behavior and identify strategies around de-escalation, avoiding power struggles, problem solving, working with apathy, responding to lying, and more.

Combined Trauma-Informed Care & Behavior Management Strategies (On-site)
Spend the day at Medicine Horse with your team and immerse yourself in understanding behavior and learning effective strategies to respond in a consistent and compassionate way that promotes physical and emotional safety. The training involves unmounted work with horses and culminates in applying strategies learned to a vast array of scenarios tailored to meet the needs of the group.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

"The trainings offered by Medicine Horse staff about Trauma Informed Care and Behavior Management are invaluable. The information and practices give me the tools to be a better program facilitator, parent, and human being. " J.L., - Montezuma Land Conservancy

"Yes, it was helpful. It is one of the best Behavior Management trainings I have ever attended! You are really great at what you do." A.A.- School Community Youth Collaboration

"I wanted to pass a long a HUGE thank you for last weeks training, and for hosting us at Medicine Horse. In the few days since the training, the leaders and myself have been implementing and reflecting on lessons learned. You had a massive impact on all of us and I really cannot thank you enough."
T.D. - Southwest Conservation Legacy

"They did such a phenomenal job! I've been to quite a few Trauma-Informed trainings and this one was one of the best yet. It's a heavy topic and can be triggering, but she did great at keeping it light and getting the information delivered." B.F. -Pinon Project Family Center

"Working with the Medicine Horse staff, including the horses, was an amazing experience for my professional and personal growth. Not only were we given an array of tools and techniques, Karen helped us understand the spectrums involved with trauma and traumatic stress. This consists of environmental factors that we do not see or experience that contribute to behaviors. It gave me a whole new outlook when working with my target population. We were also given an amazing opportunity to focus on our own skills to promote self-care and composure. This included stepping out of our comfort zone at times. The training involves information as well as physically participating in practices that left me feeling rejuvenated and energized to continue my work with a growth mindset. We even got to spend time building and enhancing our connection with the horses. I really enjoyed working with every member of the staff at Medicine Horse and can easily say that it was the most impactful training I have experienced thus far." S.G. - Pinon Project Family Center

Natural Leaders

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Crime/Abuse Victims
Native Americans

Description

Natural Leaders is a program designed for middle school students with a focus on mentorship between 8th grade leaders and 6th/7th grade ambassadors. In this program a group of up to 8 students come to Medicine Horse Center once a week for a total of 6 weeks. 8th graders focus on leadership skills while mentoring a student, and 6th/7th graders learn and practice concrete coping skills and team-building. Students are paired 1-on-1, and activities with horses guided and led by a licensed therapist are used to strengthen their connection with self and others, build trust, share and problem solve, and feel support and encouragement.

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Evidence of Program's Success

The program started in the spring of 2019 and had served 39 students from all school districts in Montezuma County. Teachers and counselors, who accompany students at the Center, repeatedly report a positive behavior change during sessions and back in schools. Some of the positive behavior changes reported are: improved engagement with peer group and adults, positive emotional regulation, greater trust and openness, improved concentration.

Grade Level Transition

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Animals
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Teachers

Description

Grade Level Transition program is designed for youth transitioning between elementary and middle, middle and high school grades. A class of students (up to 24 individuals) join our team for 1/2-day experiential team building initiatives tailored to each group's unique needs. Equine-assisted group activities provide opportunities for social emotional learning, practicing coping skills, developing trust and peer support.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

The program had been piloted in the spring of 2019 with one of the Montezuma County School districts. A class of 24 students spent half a day building stronger peer relationship, identifying challenges, and creating collective and individual solutions. Taking positive feedback received during pilot, we will be offering this program to all school districts in Montezuma County in 2020.
*2020 Update: Due to COVID-19 restrictions we will be offering this program to small groups this Fall Semester and Spring 2021.

Equine Rehabilitation

Class

Animal-Related 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Animals
Disabled, General or Disability unspecified
General Public
Physically Disabled

Description

Many of our therapy horses have been rehabilitated from former performance/show, ranch or pleasure careers and are either too old to continue that work, or have been injured. Others have had former lives of neglect or abuse.

We test horse personalities for suitability in therapy work while they are going through rehabilitation at our Center. For those that do not prove suitable for the work that we do, we find approved forever adoptive homes.

Our horses are the mainstay of the work that we do and are our partners in facilitation of our therapy work. They are given the utmost of care, with special attention being paid to both physical and emotional wellbeing.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Horses come to our Center from many walks of life and in various levels of health. Most horses that are donated to a therapy center such as ours have an underlying condition of some type. For instance: in 2016 we adopted a 16 year old Paint mare (with Navicular Syndrome), along with her 12 year old Miniature Horse/Shetland Pony cross companion. Their owner was leaving the area and was not able to take either horse with him, so needed to find them a safe home. We stepped in to rehabilitate: either assess suitability for therapy work or find them a good home where they could still be together--they had lived together for 12 years.

The Paint mare (Rain) was in pain and quite shut down, so we immediately had our veterinarian and farrier assess her. She was prescribed pain medication and the farrier found a considerable amount of bruising on the soles of her front feet from abscesses. We are happy to report that 5 months later, we had her feet where they no longer were abscessing and bruising. Rain and her companion, Bronco, had both adjusted very well to becoming therapy horses and became favorites with our clients! Rain had passed away in the winter of 2019, but Bronco (now 15) remains with our herd and lives with his new companion, Goldie.

This is just one of the many stories of hope that we have to share.

A.W.A.R.E. Youth Program

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21
Crime/ Abuse Victims
Native American/American Indian
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged/Indigent
At-Risk Populations

Description

Social/emotional skill development program for school age children that emphasizes awareness of our Actions, Words, Accountability, Respect and Empathy (AWARE). By helping to foster pro-social interactions and enhance personal awareness, we believe that the AWARE Program helps students build character, and develop a sense of self-worth that is necessary to guide them toward a successful path and healthier choices in life.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

All participants in the AWARE Program report an increase in self-esteem and self-awareness. Many report that they are getting along more with siblings and peers, classroom behaviors improve and parents report that their child is more cooperative and engaged.

One success story of many:
A young boy who came through our AWARE Program had experienced the unspeakable pain of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of a family member. His school counselor recommended him for the program, as he had in turn been abusing the family pets and struggling with social/emotional interactions with his peers.

After going through the AWARE Program, his mother reported back to our staff that her son had learned to respect his siblings and was no longer abusing their dog and cats. She also overheard him teaching his younger brother how to be kind to their pets, and explaining to him that it was important to keep them safe and cared for. These acts of caring were learned as a direct result of lessons taught and reinforced through AWARE.

Dolores Middle School:
A client, who had been coming to the Center through AWARE program, had constantly been disengaged in school and suspended for disruptive behavior and fights. While participating in the program, the student successfully engaged in group and equine guided activities, exhibited positive self and emotional regulation during sessions, and reported to school Counselor how much he looked forward to spending time at the Center.

We have many more stories of the impact horses and time at the facility have had on the clients.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.