Horse Therapy Combats Stress in Students, Teachers

East Wake Academy students and Kindred Spirits Farm horses. Photo: Kay Whatley
East Wake Academy students and Kindred Spirits Farm horses. Photo: Kay Whatley

By Kay Whatley, Editor

With all the electronics, computers, fidget spinners, cell phones, and drugs, teens and young children may feel lost and have a hard time functioning in the real world.

A Nash County nonprofit organization, Kindred Spirits Farm, is reaching out to local schools with a free workshop.

Because of the rising social stressers, the nonprofit has set a goal this 2017-18 school year  to partner with local school systems. The school-designed free workshop offers students, teachers, and administrators an opportunity to experience a unique and powerful connection with the farm’s therapy horses.  Schools in Nash, Franklin, Wake, and Johnston counties (North Carolina) are eligible.

“If by working with the school system, we are able to make even the smallest impact in just one child’s life, it will be a start in the right direction,” says Kim Haselhuhn, Kindred Spirits Farm manager.

Kindred Spirits Farm helps families, veterans, and individuals through equine-assisted therapy. Equine (horse) therapy allows stressed humans to work with therapy horses. The interactions can alleviate humans’ stress and learn new ways to build healthy relationships, how to improve communication, develop social skills, change old behavior patterns, and more.

Equine-assisted therapy has been shown to improve academic achievement, promote positive behavior, and strengthen family-school partnerships. Stress and more may be treated through human-horse interactions:

  • Stress — An August 23, 2017 article describes Hollywood’s use of equine-assisted therapy to treat celebrities like Selena Gomez for stress and exhaustion.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  — This August 7, 2017 article announced Columbia University (New York) was studying horse therapy for veterans with PTSD. (Related: August 3, 2017 article covered new national funding for equine therapy.)
  • Physical, Mental and Emotional Issues — An August 23, 2017 article in the Christian-news site Aleteia describes the importance of “hugging a horse” for good health or self esteem.
  • Multiple Sclerosis — A recent study by the University of Cologne (Germany) showed that “hippotherapy” (horse-assisted therapy) improved “improved balance, and also fatigue, spasticity, and quality of life in patients”.

The broad range of human issues that may be alleviated through horse therapy makes it a possible tool for schoolchildren and teachers alike as the stress of the school year continues.

If your school administrators, class leaders, or teachers group are interested in taking part in these stress-related workshops, contact Kindred Spirits Farm at 919.215.0811 to Apply for a free workshop. Scheduling in-advance is strongly recommended to ensure space is available.

Kindred Spirits Farm became a nonprofit in 2009, and in 2016 moved to a larger farm between Middlesex and Zebulon NC. They are online at www.kindredspiritsfarmnc.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kindredspirithorses.

For the general public, note that an open-barn event is coming that is open to all community members, not just school-based humans.  All are welcome on Saturday, September 23, 2017, starting at 10am for fun and games on the farm, including face painting, crafts, dress-up-with-a-horse portraits, and activities with the on-site therapy horses: Nessa, Athena, and Odie.

 

Ed. Note: See this older article regarding one of the schools that visited, and volunteered with, this nonprofit.

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About Kay Whatley 2239 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.