Eastern Wake: Opinion

Letter: Straight from the horse’s mouth

When I tell people that I work with horses at Kindred Spirits Farm in Zebulon they often assume it is therapeutic riding for the physically disabled. In actuality, there are many different approaches to therapeutic horsemanship.

At Kindred Spirits the focus is on helping participants: children, teens and families, who may not be benefiting from traditional therapy or the mainstream approach to learning.

In an Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) session, clients are given the opportunity to learn about “Horse Talk”. Unlike humans, horses don't communicate through spoken word. They read body language.

Learning “Horse Talk” teaches valuable lessons. Simple and easily understood principals aid in developing relationships based on trust, respect, understanding and love. These are the very foundation of a good and strong relationship. Helping families deal with grief or loss, teaching parents how to deal with teenagers and their daily ups and downs, and empowering adolescents to deal with peer pressures and everyday challenges they encounter are just a few of the many subjects our programs deal with.

As a former neonatal intensive care and pediatric surgical nurse, my horses sustained me through extreme stress and gave me peace. I wanted others to be able to experience the profound bond I have developed with horses.

Blessed with strong support from my family and very good friends, the farm has seven horses – some with special needs, health and dietary issues, two beautiful rescued dogs and three orphaned pigs. We all live on a shoestring budget with assistance from private-pay clients and small donations from the community.

Equine Assisted Learning is more than just adapting new behaviors, clearing your mind and body of negative thoughts and influences. It is about having fun, developing self-confidence, self awareness, responsibility and hope for the future. All of this takes place outdoors in a calming, natural environment.

I guess when you really think about it, it is straight from the horse's mouth.

Kim Haselhuhn