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Please consider making a financial contribution to Medicine Horse Program. Your donations support our programs and help some great kids and families.
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1. Mail your donation to Medicine Horse Program at: 8778 Arapahoe Road, Boulder, CO 80303
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Copyright 2008, Medicine Horse Program
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Medicine Horse Success Stories
Names and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Joe was a typical child in "Healing with Horses." His mother struggled to run a one-parent household with three kids. His father, whom he adored, died in a skiing accident when Joe was 10. The family went on welfare. Joe turned to silence, video games and food for comfort. He stopped making friends and was teased at school for being fat. He started missing more and more school. In "Healing with Horses," Joe met other kids who were going through the same things he was, who were grieving for a lost loved one. He met horses who lived in herds and suffered intense separation anxiety. He learned he was not alone in his grief. He bonded with a horse named Gypsy, who never judged him or called him fat. He told his mother that Medicine Horse was the only place where he felt safe. He began to talk out his grief and found new strategies for working out the process. He enjoyed being with the horses, and he began to take riding lessons. He loved the exercise and began to spend more time outdoors and connecting with animals and friends. Joe's mother said Joe returned to school that year with new found confidence, ready to work.
Jorge came to Medicine Horse in the "Equus Integration Program." He was passed from relative to relative when his parents were in Mexico. Looking for a place to fit in, he joined a gang. At 14 , he became a father. At 16, with no car, no job, and barely able to speak English, Jorge had a wife and baby to support. In "Equus Integration," he learned new ways to communicate. With the help of the horses, he learned body language and social skills that helped him find a place in his group. He used horse skills he had learned in Mexico at his family's ranch to become a leader in his class. Jorge enjoyed working with the horses so much, he came back to Medicine Horse to volunteer after his program. He is learning barn management skills and hopes to find a job in the equine industry.
Pamela was 18. She had struggled with a learning disability for years, and barely made it through school. The stress made her prone to panic attacks. Pamela became so depressed she couldn't get out of bed. She felt she wanted to die. Her mother took her to a psychiatrist who prescribed medications for depression. They made her tired. Nothing worked until Pamela came to "the HopeFoal Program." Pamela saw herself reflected in the frightened, anxious foals. It didn't matter to the foals if Pamela could read or write well; all that mattered was that she could communicate with these young horses. They accepted her for who she was. Pamela's mother reported that Pamela felt so good about herself she jumped out of bed ready to come to Medicine Horse whenever she could. Her psychiatrist saw so much improvement, he recommended Pamela continue her therapy at Medicine Horse Program.
Sue had developmental delays and suffered from post-traumatic shock from an assault. She came to Medicine Horse Program in the "Equine-abilities Program." At Medicine Horse, therapists worked with her to reduce stress and to learn to relax by grounding herself in her body. She learned new ways to breathe when she felt tense. She learned to do a body scan to find and release tension when it manifested in her body. Therapists taught Sue to use sensory imaging to help keep panic attacks at bay. Sue particularly enjoyed riding the Medicine Horse, Gaily. Sue related to the metaphor of the little black horse carrying her on her own personal journey. She felt riding Gaily gave her strength and power. Simply being outside in nature, in a quiet, safe place with a caring group of friends and animals helped Sue find peace.
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.
Medicine Horse Program Testimonials
Taylor is 11 and came to Medicine Horse Program through Healing With Horses. Taylor and his parents are learning how to grieve the loss of their daughter and sister who died by suicide. Through the program Taylor has learned how to cope with some of his "big feelings" and how to talk with other kids about what helps. He has had the chance to show the group how everything is different now that his sister is gone. But most of all he has made a friend named Rudy. Rudy has a grief history of his own and was rescued 3 years ago from a feed lot. He was 10 days to slaughter. Taylor and Rudy were instant companions. Over the 8 week program this quiet, kind, and compassionate boy whispered his story in Rudy's ear and grew to trust Rudy to support him when the grief was too big for him to hold alone. Rudy also reminded Taylor about the joy and laughter available to him when he was with the horses. Taylor's final statement to the group was: "Rudy taught me that it's okay to have all my feelings. He wasn't afraid of my grief, and he made me laugh. He wants to be with me just how I am. That's what it really means to be friends."
I guess I'm supposed to write a letter to you telling about my feelings of saying goodbye and what I've learned. It's really hard for me to say goodbye. I've done it a lot in my life and it always reminds me of the last time I saw my birth mom. I appreciate all that you've taught me. I loved you the minute I laid eyes on you. Some people call you stubborn or bossy or angry! I chose you because I see those things in myself too. We learned to trust each other. You accepted me for who I am. I can really be myself around you because I know you won't judge me. I didn't feel like I deserved to be loved. You help me remember that I do deserve to be loved just the way I am. I don't have to do things to earn love. I resent that I can't take you home with me. I regret that this group is ending. I also really appreciate the people in this group for being kind and open.
Just Say Whoa
"I enjoyed working with the horses and my peers. I also enjoyed challenging myself. Before being in this program, never would have ridden a horse blindfolded."
"The most important thing that I have learned is learning to trust the horse because they have to learn to trust us as well."
"I learned to trust myself and have patience."
"Being really calm helps when trying to build trust with your horse and people."
"I learned to trust myself and the horses and be confident."
"It gave us a chance to get over fears and to build confidence."
"Never be scared of new things. Once you face them, it's easy."
"I learned about leadership. Be nice to the horses and they will be nice to us. I tried hard to help them and then they helped me. If I help people more, they will help me too."
"At MHP, I learned that I love horses. The horses teach me that they are like humans because they have feelings like us. I have to be strong and say "no" to the horses sometimes. They are really strong. I learned to say "no" to people who push me around too."
"At MHP, I am learning that leadership is important for some of the Latina girls like me. I learned that I can be a better leader for other people and Latina girls."
"I learned to be close to the horse and to not be scared of them. The horses are teaching me to be respectful and to be nice to other people and to not be scared of new people."
"The horses are teaching us that we can be afraid of new things. The horses will still come to us because they want to know us. I think it is like that in real life for me."
"What we got out of going to MHP is that we can work together. And we can have more friends and we can get along with each other."
"Yesterday my friends and I went with the horses and learned many things. First, we were introduced and chose the horses. Juan and I went and cleaned the horses and cleaned the hoof and the hair. Later we walked and the horses jumped and lead the horse. Juan and I and the horses were very, very happy and learned many things. Later we left and go to the bus."
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