Horses Make Miracles is an all-volunteer organization including our board of directors. We rely on donations of horse feed, supplements, equipment and supplies as well as a therapy horse sponsorship program. Our therapy horses; several who were rescued have all been donations to our organization.
Horses Make Miracles has a variety of therapeutic programs, a professional operating plan, internships and a certification program incorporating mentoring and practical experience in association with the high standards PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) and EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association). Horses Make Miracles programs address participant’s physical, mental, cognitive, and emotional challenges. Working with the horse’s spiritual nature increases social well-being inspires self-confidence, responsibility, teamwork and awareness of the body, mind, heart, and soul. The therapeutic team of the facilitators, therapy horses and volunteers ensure that safety, confidentiality, challenging lesson plans and related activities enhance the participant’s life experiences.
THERAPEUTIC RIDING: Participants of all ages develop unique bonds with their equine partners and learn how to “listen to” horses, whether riding or developing horsemanship skills on the ground. Classes include aspects of care, grooming, riding and fun activities to realize individual lesson plans to reach rider’s goals and full potential. Horses Make Miracles programs have horses of many shapes, sizes and personalities, a variety of saddles, gear and adaptive equipment to fit each rider’s specific needs.
The horses; being non-judgmental and honest partners help clients learn about leadership, empathy, creating healthy boundaries, creativity, contact, connection, and relationships in a safe, nurturing and non-threatening way.
PONY POWER: Students (between 8-12 years old) will develop their horsemanship skills in a safe, educational and fun atmosphere and will learn leadership, communication, mutual respect and trust with their equine partner. Participants will build a connected and willing partnership with their horse to build self-awareness and confidence. Pairing two kids with one horse will emphasize team work with peers and problem solving.
Workshops we have conducted in the past include WOMEN WITH WINGS, CENTERING YOGA ON HORSEBACK, SILVER STIRRUPS and EQUUS EMBRACE. Population Group(s) Served
Individuals of all ages served. Populations have included ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder/Sensory Integration, Developmentally Disabled, Down Syndrome, Emotional Challenges, Traumatic Brain Injury, Learning Disabilities, Speech Disorders, Stroke, Blind, Hearing Impaired, PTSD, Amputees, Depression, Anxiety as well as able-bodied participants. In the spirit of inclusiveness, our Equus Embrace participants of any socio-economic vulnerability, cultural, racial or sexual identity can address their authentic selves by meeting and working with our therapy horses in group classes facilitated by licensed and certified professionals. The horses mirror and reflect their true goodness which is a powerful experience having that reflected back onto oneself. The horses; being non-judgmental and honest partners help our clients learn about leadership, empathy, creating healthy boundaries, creativity, contact, connection, and relationships in a safe, nurturing and non-threatening way.
From the moment they are presented with the horse, participants use the same coping mechanisms as they do with other stressful factors in their lives. Participant’s issues rise to the surface much quicker than they would in an office setting and can be dealt with sooner. In a safe and fun setting, we look at what arises between horse and human…perhaps issues of trust, connection, intimacy, relationship building, boundaries and assertiveness. Our experiential programs promote social skills, build confidence, improve communications and resolve conflict. Our participants address emotional issues such as anger, depression, anxiety and frustration with a focus on resolving conflict and building relationships.
BENEFITS OF EQUINE ASSISTED ACTIVITIES AND THERAPY:
- Breaks down defense barriers
- Challenges in a non-threatening way
- The horse is a non-judgmental and honest friend
- Promotes a motivating environment
- Enhances problem-solving skills
- Provides immediate cause-effect situations
- Decreases feelings of hopelessness
- Stimulates creativity
- Encourages responsibility
- Captivates and holds attention
- Helps teach empathy
- Empowers and gives a sense of control over self
- Develops social skills
- Teaches better communication skills
The background of Horses Make Miracles creative and original programs are foundations for promoting growth and positive change in youth, adults and families that offer a unique, challenging, safe and enjoyable form of experiential therapy under the supervision of certified professionals. Working effectively and safely with a 1000 lb. animal requires patience, trust, compassion, awareness and self-confidence. Results with developing, enhancing and transferring these traits to life challenges are the goals realized at our operating center.
Horses are social creatures with a hierarchy that parallels human society and these majestic creatures all have distinct personalities. Quite frequently participants select horses to engage with that mirror themselves which aids them to observe and gain understanding of their actions and the reactions of others. Horses don’t lie and through their body language they can communicate what is going on with the participant and reflect this back, thus breaking down defenses and they are effectively used in our therapeutic activities as metaphors for life, attitudes and behaviors.
Sometimes the progress participants make and the benefits they receive can be shown with statistical data. Other times, it’s the small stories that make the benefits to our clients so satisfying. Our testimonials and referrals as well as our reputation in the community speak for themselves. The Equine Assisted Therapy approach to mental health treatment is body-based and aligns with the evolving understanding about the nature of post-traumatic responses. As the American Red Cross noted in 2012, there exists a “wider appreciation for the fact that trauma responses are normal reactions to abnormal situations particularly in mental health services.