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Horses Can Help

Photo by Kristen White.

You’ve probably ridden a horse for fun, but they can do other things, too! A few days ago, I talked with Kirsten Redmond at Chesapeake Ranch in Louisville. Kirsten and Lottie Grimes (who owns the ranch) ride, work, and groom the horses. They also use the horses for therapy. Horse therapy uses the horse as a tool to help people learn things about themselves.   There are different types of therapy that use horses.  Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy are done through groundwork, instead of riding the horse.  Groundwork involves playing games, grooming, gaining the horse’s trust, and finding out how to get the horse to do what you want to do. Therapeutic riding can combine talking about feelings or problems with actual riding experiences.  

All the horses at Chesapeake Ranch are able to help with therapy, and they each have a different talent. For example, Tag, an older Appaloosa, is good at with helping with grief work because he is very mellow, gentle, and he can handle energy well. (So he understands how you’re feeling.) When these horses help with therapy, they’re helping someone who needs it. All the horses can help with therapy, including their little pony!
Kirsten has loved horses for as long as she can remember. She started volunteering at a therapy center, and she loved it so much she decided to try to get qualified to help with therapy. The training was not easy. She worked hard and got certified in Fort Collins. Then she kept chasing her dream and got certified for E.A.P. in Texas. Lottie also grew up loving horses and showing them, and as she got older, rode whenever she could. When she moved to Colorado, she found a way to use horses in her child, couple, and family therapy and found that using horses could really help people more than just talking.
Horses are amazing animals, but they can also help people get through their tough times. Chesapeake Ranch is a great place with great horses.  They also offer Horse Play classes and riding lessons.