“Equine therapy is a very recognized and recommended type of therapy, especially for people who have suffered some type of trauma,” said Kim Kankel, the crisis center’s development manager. “The soothing, repetitive motion of riding a horse, along with just giving people a safe space, really helps with overcoming and dealing with trauma for people.”
It also makes people more receptive to other therapies, she added.
The Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center is the only domestic and sexual assault crisis center for Blanco, Burnet, Lampasas, and Llano counties. It provides emergency shelter for domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors as well as counseling services.
The HARTH Foundation was founded by Sherry Atherton to offer equine therapy to veterans and service members but has expanded its services to more people. It is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship-certified program, the only one in Burnet, Lampasas, and Llano counties. Equine therapy options include ground work as well as riding programs.
Atherton has witnessed the affects of equine therapy countless times.
“Equine-assisted programs have been shown to be very successful in helping trauma survivors regain confidence in their bodies, learn how to relax and trust again, improve assertiveness skills and improve body autonomy, to name a few (benefits),” she said in a news release.
Those are some of the reasons Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center Executive Director Kathrine Cholcher wanted to team up with the HARTH Foundation.
“It’s been shown that equine-assisted programs, including therapeutic riding, can help promote healing for those who have experienced trauma as a result of their victimization,” she added.
Those needing help through the Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center may call its hotline at 830-693-5600.