Please consider making a financial contribution to Medicine Horse Program. Your donations support our programs and help some great kids and families.
Your help is greatly appreciated. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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1. Mail your donation to Medicine Horse Program at: 8778 Arapahoe Road, Boulder, CO 80303
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In accordance with the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act and the City of Boulder Human Rights Ordinance, there will be no discrimination against an applicant for services or benefits based on the basis of age, source of income, sex, race marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, religion or handicap. Medicine Horse Program complies with all state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination. the City of Boulder's Human Rights Ordinance protects against discrimination. If you believe your rights have been violated, call the Colorado Fair Housing Hotline at (303)672-5437 or 1-800-877-7353.
Copyright 2008, Medicine Horse Program
HopeFoal Project is a registered trademark
Breakfast With Mama - part 53
By Kathy Johnson, Executive Director, MHP
If Mama Can Do It
You may remember the grey mustang mare named Ponyo who picked me out in prison. And you may remember the Mundane Mustang Makeover where my friend Kim spent a year with the 5 year old mare, slowly, carefully halter breaking her, longeing, roundpenning, and eventually starting her under saddle.
As the longest, hottest, driest summer ever drew to a close, both Kim and I were slammed with serious illnesses. I lost my nerve to further Mama's training, because I did not think my reflexes were fast enough. At the same time, Kim did not feel well enough to ride Ponyo. Somehow, we switched horses, in a scenario a little like Freaky Friday.
Kim turned to Mama, the older mare who she said "had less attitude and more sense of self-preservation." I turned to Ponyo the teenager, who definitely had attitude but, a sweeter willingness to learn, a more flexible nature and a better start in life.
Magic Moments At Medicine Horse
A young girl came to one of our programs, in trouble for running away. She put her head down on the picnic table, closed her eyes and put her fingers in her ears. She shut herself off from everything and everyone. But the HopeFoals approached, always curious, eyeing her through the fence. I began to talk about the foals, how they were young and wild, how they used to run away and do silly things because they didn’t know better. Slowly, the girl responded. She took her fingers out of her ears to listen. She peeked through her arms to look at the foals. And finally, she lifted her head and said, “Can I touch one?”
It is a magic touch, this reawakening of the senses, this return to nature, this unbreakable bond between horses and people.
We reach out to you again to help the at-risk clients and horses of Medicine Horse Program. Due to the heat and fires, we face drought and another hay shortage. Hay has become a living breathing monster here; we have nightmares about it. We have cut back our herd drastically, unable to rescue more horses until we can find homes for the mustangs we have been training for a year.
Even with less help and fewer horses, we are running new collaborations with the YMCA, with Boulder County Expand, and Juvenile Diversion. We continue with our core programs, Veterans Peace of Mind, Imagine, Healing with Horses, Just Say Whoa and the HopeFoal Project. We are working harder to bring in more paying programs such as our MHP certification program. These paying programs support the at-risk clients who cannot pay.
As the economy rebounds, we are only receiving smaller grants given in the depths of the recession. Corporate sponsors who dropped off have not returned. We are relying very much on the kindness of the Oak Foundation, Sky Ranch and donors like you. Please help by giving as much as you can. Every penny counts.
Kathy K. Johnson, Executive Director
You may send a check to: Medicine Horse, 8778 Arapahoe Rd., Boulder 80303.
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Nitro's First Ride March 2012
Fearless Filly Gets To The Heart of PTSD in Innovative Treatment With Veterans
By Kathryn King Johnson, M.Ed.
Medicine Horse Program and Veterans Peace of Mind Project, both based in Boulder, Colorado, announce an exciting new collaboration, called "Fearless Victory."
Veterans Peace of Mind Project helps soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), providing mindfulness meditation programs as a psychological tool for dealing with trauma. Medicine Horse Program also uses mindfulness based techniques in equine-assisted psychotherapy. Using horses as co-facilitators, therapists help soldiers connect in relationship with each other and the horses.
"The wild horses help me to open up. The more I open up, the more they connect with me. It spirals outward, and I start opening up more with people in my day to day life," said John, a Viet Nam vet.
Most of the mustangs at Medicine Horse, caught recently on the range, are hypervigilent, with a strong flight instinct, and an aversion to being touched.
"The symptoms are the same as PTSD," one veteran said, "When I got home from the war, I didn't want anyone to touch me. "
As the horses learn to trust humans, the veterans see real results. In the process, they learn to trust the horses and begin to heal as well.
An astonished veteran exclaimed at the progress of a mustang named Mama, "She is not the same horse we worked with a month ago. If Mama can heal so quickly, so can we. She gives us hope."
HopeFoal Project Receives $20,000 Grant From the Sky Ranch Foundation
Medicine Horse Program is pleased to announce receipt of a $20,000 grant supporting our HopeFoal Project from the Sky Ranch Foundation of Fredericksburg, VA. Sky Ranch Foundation, has been coordinating alcohol beverage industry support for at-risk kids since 1961.
HopeFoal Project: This award-winning program partners rescued foals with depressed and anxious teens. The teens work with trained therapists and horse handlers to help gentle the foals. In the process, both foal and teen are healed.
For more than 11 years, Medicine Horse Program has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of adolescents, families, and adults through unique equine-assisted experiences. We provide group and individual therapy sessions that focus on healing. Individual and group psychotherapy sessions are offered. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Our services meet the particular needs of low-income individuals referred to us by local city and county agencies. Vulnerable youth populations are an emphasis at Medicine Horse Program.
"We are thrilled to have the financial support from the Sky Ranch Foundation," says Kathy Johnson, Executive Director of Medicine Horse Program. "We have more children in need than ever before. The cost of hay is soaring, expenses are up and donations are down due to the economy. We need these generous donations to provide the quality of services for which we are nationally renowned."
Foal Festival 2011
MHP Veterans Group Featured in Daily Camera
Fearless Victory Pairs Traumatized Mustangs with Veterans with PTSD
By Stephanie Gates For the Camera, photos and video by Mark Leffingwell
Wild mustangs are not what most doctors prescribe for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But Mamma, Fearless, Ember and Ponyo offer some pretty good therapy.
All four horses were rescued from Canyon City, which serves as a "holding pen" for wild mustangs rounded up across the West (these four came from Wyoming). They were adopted by Medicine Horse Program, a non-profit mental health organization specializing in equine-assisted therapy in Boulder. The program serves more than 500 clients a year. The Fearless Victory Project, part of the Medicine Horse Program, focuses specifically on veterans suffering from PTSD.
HopeFoal Project Featured on ABC World News
Reporter Erin Hayes and ABC camera crews filmed for two days at Medicine Horse, focusing on the HopeFoal Project. The program was featured on the national news. To see the clip, click on the ABC logo. The HopeFoals have been proudly sponsored by Mychelle Dermeceuticals for over three years.
MHP Featured in Denver Post - June 14, 2011
Disabled adults, likely to outlive parents, face unclear future
By Karen Auge, The Denver Post
Slick stood patiently in a Medicine Horse stall, letting the brush glide over his haunches, the motion at once calming the animal and producing a smile of pure boyish bliss on the 50-year-old face of the man wordlessly stroking him.
More than 40 years ago, that man, Richard Chestor, was one of the first children diagnosed in Colorado with autism.
As an infant, he stiffened when held. He was so repulsed by human contact that even being fed drove him to fits, said his mother, Geri.
He never spoke more than a few dozen words, each painstakingly taught by his mother. It took years, thousands of dollars and dozens of doctors before someone put a name to what was wrong with Geri Chestor's little boy.
That diagnosis - autism - was seldom heard back then.
Our Kids - Medicine Horse Success Stories
Names and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Eileen came to MHP 8 years ago, in one of the first "Just Say Whoa" classes. She was drinking, doing drugs, and in trouble with the law. She refused to speak to her family about her problems. Working with a horse named Beau and the therapists in "Just Say Whoa," Eileen learned to set and keep boundaries. Without boundaries, Beau walked all over her. Eileen learned new ways to communicate with the pushy horse. As she learned to control Beau, she began to take control of herself when everything at home was spinning out of control.
The horses changed her life forever. Now in her 20s, Eileen called Medicine Horse Program to update us on her life. She is in college, something she'd never dreamed of in the past. She is working on a research paper on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and called us for more information. Her time at Medicine Horse meant so much to her she wants to make this her career. She wants to give back to other children in need.
Our Mission and Our Programs
Medicine Horse Program fulfills our values and beliefs through five core youth programs:
HopeFoal Project: This award-winning class partners rescued Premarin foals with depressed and anxious teens. The teens work with trained therapists and horse handlers to help gentle the foals. In the process, both foal and teen are healed.
Healing With Horses: In collaboration with Hospice of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, this 2006 NOVA Health and Human Services award-winning class helps children deal with issues of grief associated with the loss of a loved one.
Just Say Whoa: This class, in partnership with Boulder BEST program and others, is designed for truant teens and repeat juvenile offenders. Through interaction with horses and therapists, the class helps teens confront their complex lives.
Equus Integration Project: This growth and learning class breals down barriers among diverse populations, building the communication and leadership skills of non-English-speaking teens.
EquineAbility: Through horse activities, creative expression and body movement, this EAP program addresses the psychological, emotional and social aspects of individuals with developmental disabilities.
Scholarships for all of the core programs are available.