Believing in the therapeutic effects of horses on the healing process of youth, The Buckeye Ranch opened the Kroger Equestrian Center in 1998. Today, we continue to provide therapeutic riding and equine assisted activities to youth in our care, as well as those in the general community. Youth care for the horses, learn how to develop relationships with them and receive horsemanship instruction – all of which provides powerful opportunities to address social skills, communication issues and other dynamics identified in individual treatment plans.
Because it is experiential, this type of therapy is completely different than “office” therapy. Instead of talking about problems, the problems are put into immediate practice.
The horses are wonderful teachers that have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. Youth who say the horse is stubborn, for example, learn that if they change their behavior, the horse will respond to them differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers!
The Equestrian Center provides the following throughout the year:
- 15 therapeutic groups a week for the 88 youth in residential care
- One handicap riding class for the community
- Work experience and volunteering for youth in residential treatment
- Community service for youth in care
- Community and corporate volunteering