We’ve written extensively about the benefits of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) for those who suffer from PTSD, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. There is something comforting and calming about being around horses that goes hand-in-hand with healing. Over the years, various studies and research have shown that horse therapy can positively impact mood, social skills, self-esteem, trust, and a host of other life skills for adults and children alike. The therapy has been such a success around the world that people and organizations have taken notice and are attempting to adapt equine therapy to other situations.
One such group is Alkebu-Lan Village, a non-profit organization in Detroit, Michigan that was formed in 1978. The group debuted a program this past summer called “Stop Horsing Around” for inner-city kids to learn to feed, groom, and ride horses for the first time.
“The goal is to make this available to our inner-city youth who are struggling with various challenges and stressors,” Sabrina Cesaire, a social worker told the Detroit Free Press.
The program introduced Charlie Brown, a 13-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse, who was shipped into the back parking lot of Alkebu-Lan Village in the neighborhood of Dearborn Heights to the more than a dozen kids who signed up. The children were taught how to approach the chestnut gelding and get his “permission” to be petted. Then one by one the children were able to feed carrots and groom the patient horse.
At the end of the program the kids were taken an hour away to a stable called Bandy’s Ranch, where they were given the opportunity to spend the day “horsing around.” The organizers are aiming to continue the equine therapy program throughout the year.