Winston Churchill once said, "There’s just something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Horse therapy has indeed been proven effective in several different cases regarding mental health, addiction, physical therapy, and human development. Hardin County, Ohio is putting this idea to the test.
Hardin County Reclaiming Futures has partnered with Serenity Stables Therapeutic Center Inc. to provide horse therapy to youth in the juvenile system through the Horse and Youth program (H.A.Y.).
The H.A.Y. program will provide intervention strategies for the adjudicated youth who need a way to build self-confidence, leadership skills, and group interaction capabilities. The young people will have 12 weekly sessions to create a bond with their horse, as well as the people, of Serenity Stables.
“The horses do not care who you are, what trouble you have been in, or what problems you may have. Each youth will be able to establish a bond with an animal that is totally non-judgmental,” Judge Christopher, Hardin County Juvenile Court, explains.
This type of bond will serve to build confidence in the young people of Hardin County and help them develop a new, healthier mindset. Judge Christopher also believes the people of Serenity Stable, who have ample experience working with challenged youth, will serve to be positive role models for the participants.
Organizations such as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning Association and the Horses and Human Research Foundation are currently working to build scientific proof that programs like H.A.Y. are effective for young people and adults struggling with mental health and substance abuse.
We want to hear from you. Please share your stories about horse therapy—and other therapeutic interventions—in the comments section below.
Photo courtesy of Hardin County Reclaiming Futures.
Cecilia Bianco is the social and digital communications intern for Prichard Communications and Mac’s List. She contributes to the Reclaiming Futures blog regarding topics of juvenile justice reform and substance abuse prevention.
Updated: February 08 2018