Missy is our oldest horse. She was bought for a young girl who rode her for a season and then quickly lost interested. Unfortunately Missy was abandoned in her stall, much like those Christmas puppies that end up in shelters by February.
Like Gracie, Missy was also used as a barrel horse so she had a lot to learn when we taught her English riding. Being a show horse just wasn’t her thing so we decided to use her as a therapy horse and she has been thriving ever since.
Missy has the most success with our psychotic and bipolar patients. She is a very gentle girl for new riders on our equestrian team as well!
Memphis, an Egyptian Arab, is a rare breed that came to us after being abandoned as a foal after a family divorce. The foster family that took him in was unable to cope with this breed’s temperament. It didn’t help that he was unable to fit in with their herd of horses, which led him to become scared and confused.
It took Memphis a year to get comfortable with humans again and even more time to decide that giving someone a ride on his back was an ok thing. He is by far our most sensitive horse during therapy sessions particularly with those suffering from anxiety, self-esteem issues, lack of confidence and grief.
Peppy, aka Geronimo is a retired hunter/jumper pony who now lives out his days grazing on pastures and giving pony rides, but Peppy did not start his life as such a success. Peppy spent his early years leased to a barn as a kid’s lesson horse in order to earn his keep. When it turned out he was too “green” (unexperienced) to be used as a lesson horse his original owner was forced to sell him to slaughter, because she couldn’t afford to keep him. Luckily for him he was bought for a young girl that was determined not to give up on him, no matter how many times he threw her off in tears. With training, patience and the love of a little girl, Peppy became a successful show pony soaring over 3-foot fences in the jumper ring. Due to his small size he tends to be the favorite for our smaller participants.
Preacher was abandoned in a makeshift pen in the southern Idaho desert after his owner was sentenced to jail time on unrelated charges. He and another horse were found penned in a remote spot in the middle of summer with no food, water or shelter. A hiker spotted the horses and they were rescued just in the nick of time. Preacher was then taken to a volunteer horse rescue facility that could not afford to feed him or provide for his veterinary needs. He came to us as an Eventer prospect, but has found his place in life as a pleasure riding horse and our tallest and goofiest therapy horse. If he were a human he’s be the class clown as he is always playing around and seems to actually chuckle at times!
LEGEND EQUINE ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY
Animal assisted therapy using horses is a relatively new field of study and is emerging at a very rapid pace. With more programs turning to equine assisted psychotherapy each day, one may wonder what unique experiences horses offer that enhances your growth and healing in ways that traditional therapy alone does not.