The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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Equine Therapy Offers Alternative to Traditional Therapy

Cassidy Kerber, freshman, has lived at a barn for her entire life. She spends her days in the stables riding, walking and grazing horses.

“Whenever there is a new horse or one I am unfamiliar with at my barn and I am either riding or walking it, there is some anxiety in the moment, but as you grow a connection with the horses, that can completely go away,” Kerber said.

There, she feels most at home.

For riders like Kerber, being able to form strong bonds with horses helps exercise complex emotional and social skills that can greatly improve mental health. Equine therapy entails the use of activities involving horses to promote mental wellbeing and allows clients to learn at a place other than a traditional therapy office.

Lulu Bogolin, executive director of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) in Wildwood, shares that there are many ways an individual can grow through equine therapy.

“My favorite part about working at Equine Assisted Therapy are the rewards that we get to see on a daily basis with our riders and our volunteers,” Bogolin said.

In the program, riders focus on developing coordination, fine and gross motor skills, core strength and balance. Concepts such as teamwork, trust, respect and honesty are learned as well.

EAT is a non-profit organization that is supported by a group of volunteers that all have a passion for the horses and the clients that occupy the stables. Each day they see great growth from their participants.

Kim Underwood, volunteer at EAT, said his efforts are all worth-while and that equine therapy is an enriching experience for everyone.

“We had one rider that was not talking and after a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months, he finally said the word ‘woah’. And it was like, that is such a breakthrough moment because he wasn’t talking and then he was,” Underwood said.

This story was originally published on Marquette Messenger on May 22, 2024. 

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