Horses as Healers


DAVID ERBECK: It is amazing what
these horses can do for people. LIZ DEKOCK: There’s
something really magical about a person on a horse,
and the horse’s influence over that person. DR. MICHAEL J. SUIT: It
takes a certain horse with a certain heart
and a mentality to be able to put up with
the rigorous demand of what goes on here. JAN POLLEMA: Here at
Hearts and Horses, we’re serving about 200
participants a week. And we do that in our
therapeutic riding, our youth at-risk program, our
veterans program, and our Alzheimer’s program. The horses here at Hearts
and Horses are just amazing, and really, it’s because
of them that we’re able to provide
these life changing opportunities and healing for
the individuals that we serve. BRENDA THOMPSON: I teach
therapeutic riding for adults and children with disabilities. That can be cognitive,
physical, or both. As an instructor, we’re
really responsible for the whole class,
from start to finish. It includes making sure
the horses are physically sound and ready for class. MICHELE KANE: The horse’s
health, both mentally and physically, is paramount. We would not be a program
without our horses. So that’s our
number one priority. DR. MICHAEL J. SUIT: These
horses are loved like no other. That being said,
they are working. They do have a job to do. BRENDA THOMPSON:
They’re asked to work in eight classes
per week, and they have a variety of riders with
a wide variety of abilities, so they have to
adjust constantly. MICHELE KANE: I had
my horse, Jayden. She’s just a wonderful horse. DR. MICHAEL J. SUIT: The
things that we face here primarily are age related,
whether it’s metabolic or it’s joint related. Exercise and nutrition, I think,
are kind of the foundations. Some of these horses
need a little extra. JOAN CLAY: Mariah’s been
at Hearts and Horses for six years. For her to be able
to function here, we’ve got to really stay
on top of her health. DR. MICHAEL J. SUIT: Mariah’s
a great little horse. Over the years, she’s struggled
with some metabolic issues. JOAN CLAY: As an older pony,
has Cushing’s syndrome, as well as Insulin Resistance. DR. MICHAEL J. SUIT: Part
of her plan and her care is through SmartPak. JAN POLLEMA: The
SmartPak supplements that we have here on the
property, they’re high quality. The portions are very
precisely created for each individual horse so
that their feed and dietary needs are met on a daily basis. LIZ DEKOCK: Wayne,
who feeds our horses, really enjoys that
everything’s pre-measured, and it’s easy to just put
it in a bowl of grain. DR. MICHAEL J.
SUIT: Making it easy for them to administer
to their horses. MICHELE KANE: She’s thriving. I keep a close eye on her. DR. MICHAEL J. SUIT: We’ve
had really consistent results treating the endocrine
issues, like Cushing’s. SPEAKER 10: If the horses
aren’t healthy and happy, then the horses won’t
be very good therapists. You’re going to head
for that purple cone and see if you can drop
your ring off there. JOAN CLAY: The
hypotherapy ponies need to be able to handle
a lot of people around them and somewhat odd situations and
not all equines handle it well. And she thinks it’s
the best thing ever, so it’s probably been the
highlight of her life. SYDNEY DEFAZIO: My
favorite part about riding at Hearts and Horses
is the horses, because they’re my
favorite animal. SPEAKER 10: Ride straight
over to your mom. DR. MICHAEL J. SUIT:
What still continues to amaze me about organizations
like this is it comes down to the human and animal factor. SPEAKER 10: Horses
are nonjudgmental. JAN POLLEMA: What the horses
give back to the people is really unattainable
anywhere else. It’s something really special. LIZ DEKOCK: It’s funny how the
horses transform the person. They are treasures. DAVID ERBECK: This is
the most incredible thing I’ve ever done. SYDNEY DEFAZIO: It just
makes me feel better. She makes me happier. It helps me.


8 Responses

  1. jerricho11

    February 14, 2020 10:41 pm

    This is my dream career right here. I want to work with therapy horses for people with anxiety, autism and PTSD. I am going to go to school for equine science next fall. (just got excepted) I'm so excited.

  2. Crotia isme

    February 15, 2020 4:19 am

    Omg!! I dont volunteer here but I do volunteer at a therapy barn in Illinois. I honestly love it and how amazing these centers help people.

  3. Carmi Reimer

    February 16, 2020 6:35 am

    Therapeutic Riding Instructor is my life goal… im disabled myself and realized my dream when I realized how much my horse has helped me!


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