Horses as Healers by Lorna Shepardson — YES! Magazine

Horses as Healers

What do you do with a kid who’s angry, depressed, disconnected, or all of the above? Lorna Shepardson knows a magical gift horses possess that can help bring young people from the depths of darkness to a glimmer of self-confidence. This is Lorna’s story.
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Teens give to horses

“Rusty, I promise to keep you safe and I need you to keep me safe, and if I make a mistake I want you to forgive me, and if you make a mistake I will forgive you.”

If you overheard this conversation, you might think that Rusty and this person have a trusting relationship.  They do.  Yet, there’s something you should know about why this connection’s so special.

Rusty is a horse.

Equine-assisted therapy as it’s formally known today has been around for 20 years. As with any counseling mode it isn’t helpful for all people, but it has given many people a real, honest insight about themselves that might not have been revealed otherwise.

Animals as Natural Therapy (ANT) operates at Windy Acres, a former dairy farm, nestled beside the Queen and King mountains in Bellingham, Washington. Upon arrival, you’re greeted by a menagerie of sights and sounds. Horses nudge each other vying for the first mouthful of hay. Juan, the banty rooster, crows with his squeaky little voice. The contagious giggle of an 8 year old spills into the arena as Patriot softly tickles her cheek with his long whiskers.

People who come to ANT think they are coming to learn about horses; this is often their only goal. But ultimately they learn about themselves.

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