This summer Rosecrance began introducing clients to the Equine Therapy Program at Bravehearts, a program that provides equine-assisted activities and therapies with teams of expert staff, dedicated volunteers and therapy horses at multiple safe and caring facilities. Equine therapy is a treatment that includes equine activities to promote emotional growth and well-being.
During transport there, Rosecrance staff and clients address thoughts of anxiety, fear, the unknown, self-care, communication, making connections, and the benefits of equine therapy. Once they arrive, clients engage with, learn to communicate with and ride the horse for an hour and half.
Rosecrance Art Therapist, Jada Miller, explains the bond that happens between the clients and the horses: “Even though the client might not have trust in other human beings or maybe they aren’t feeling comfortable talking about their PTSD or their traumas or how their feeling yet, this animal can sense it.”
“It’s a powerful thing,” she adds. “We talk a lot in metaphors here about overcoming obstacles and that’s a huge one—putting your trust in something greater than you.”
Following each session clients participate in wellness surveys, which have demonstrated emotional, physical and spiritual benefits. Clients have reported decrease in anxiety and depression, awareness of the present moment, increase in self-worth and self-confidence, learning new skills, ability to work through fear, increase in mood and feelings of control, increase in connectedness with self, others, horses, Higher Power, and increase in ability to communicate both verbally and nonverbally.
Rosecrance has only been able to offer this program to its military veteran clients so far because Bravehearts provides veterans services free of charge. However, the hope is to soon implement the program among all Florian clients.