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Medicine Horse Uses Equine Assisted Therapy to Help Mental Health

April 6, 2024

Medicine Horse is an equine assisted therapy center in Mancos, Colorado that uses the connection between horses and humans to work on mental health. Medicine Horse offers programs that support school children, individual therapy, professional development, life coaching, veteran support, summer programs, and more. Learn more and join a program at By Ilana Newman. This story is sponsored by Keesee Motors and Choice Building Supply.

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Wander down a back road in Mancos, Colorado and you may stumble upon Medicine Horse, an Equine Assisted Therapy Nonprofit whose tagline is "Horses Helping People." Medicine Horse works with all members of the community, from first graders to veterans to professional development for local organizations. You're watching the "Local News Network" brought to you by Keesee Motors and Choice Building Supply. I'm Connor Shrieve.

Being able to reach so many different types of people that might not respond to traditional therapy is really important to me. I love that we work in an area where there's a great need and we can provide low or no cost services to people because often equine therapy can be quite expensive and really sort of rule some people out because of that.

Medicine Horse started in the early 2000's as a Therapeutic Riding Center where disabled clients would use horses to work on physical challenges, but they found that the need was higher for mental health and social emotional wellness. So the organization evolved to focus more on mental health instead of physical.

We didn't want to see our horses as tools. We wanted them to be our partners in the work that we do. And so we work with their innate, their nature, their, the nature of horses, the nature of particular horses, and how they can help people go through transitions in their lives.

Medicine Horse Facilitators and Therapists use the body language of the horse and the human to talk about emotions and feelings by asking open-ended questions about the horse's behavior.

You know, we were in there with Goldie. It could be, why do you think Goldie walked away from us? And then it's for the client then to interpret what they think happened. And oftentimes, especially in therapy, they do transference. So they'll say, "Well, maybe she just didn't want to be around people anymore." Or maybe she, you heard some of the children that we were just with saying, "I think she's depressed," or whatever it is. We're normally talking about things that are happening within ourselves.

One of the programs offered at Medicine Horse includes a transition program for Mancos School students entering elementary school, middle school, and high school to help with the social, emotional challenges of transitioning through school. Other programs include a reading program, team building, professional development for local, regional, and national organizations and individual therapy.

Really the horses, just being with them is doing the work. And so in that way it makes my job as a therapist really easy because we don't have a ton of like interventions and all of these things that we have to do with them. It's just like the magic of being out there with the horses that is working and so I love that. I love seeing like the small, subtle changes that you see with the kids or the horses and just knowing that there's magic happening.

Reach out to Medicine Horse to get involved in any of their current programs and keep an eye out for upcoming summer programs. You can find out more about Medicine Horse Online. Learn more about this story and others at MontezumaLocal.News. Thanks for watching this edition of the "Local News Network." I'm Connor Shrieve.


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