YFS teams up with Red Horse Healing, for equine therapy
Youth & Family Services’ Counseling Center is now contracting services with Red Horse Healing to provide equine therapy to their clients affected by trauma. The therapy teaches students how their behaviors effect those around them by observing the horse’s behaviors with a lot of listening and reflection.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Horses can recognize human emotion. They are also sensitive to the touch, which makes them great at helping humans heal — as they can help patients identify with their own feelings — leading them to be more insightful during personal reflection.
Bridget Williams a mental health professional with Red Horse Healing is also a therapist at Youth & Family Services. She says the horses provide the opportunity for the students to begin trusting, communicating and building relationships, which is necessary for healing from trauma, as traumatic events impact specific areas of the brain.
Williams says, “So if kids … have a hard time paying attention in school, and getting sent to the principal’s office, that kind of thing — it’s that hypersensitive that they now carry due to whatever trauma they experienced. So the thing that we are finding with the trauma that is most helpful is having things patterned, and rhythmic and the same, so we are teaching them, just by the gate of the horses walking, that rhythm so that they can take that to other areas of life where they are struggling.”
The trust is built with the horses by creating bonds with different sensory activities that involve problem solving and coping skills and mindfulness.
By identifying and experiencing what a safe relationship is, the horse therapy is an active way to get children engaged.
“You know, lots of different children and adults that I have seen that the horse therapy has been helpful for in developing those coping skill, developing those relationships, getting along better with people and being able to manage those stressful situations where they used to spin out of control before and it’s lasting treatment,” says Williams.
This therapy proves impactful outcomes for many patients.
“We don’t necessarily see it here, but somebody who is transporting of has a relationship with them may say, the school is saying whatever we are doing is working,” says Williams.
The YFS groups meet once a week and are designed to accommodate individual needs, ages and genders.
The Central States Fairgrounds has generously worked with YFS and Red Horse Healing to help the students.