“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” – Sir Winston Churchill
Only 3 out of 10 horses have the capacity to be a therapy horse. Not only does a horse have to be an athlete, but also possess the ability to handle stress and highly emotional situations. These gentle giants can read, reflect and respond to human emotion that we are incapable of communicating ourselves. This is what makes them exceptional partners in caring for individuals with special needs.
When we receive a call that someone would like to donate a horse, there are many steps we follow before inviting the horse to the barn for a 30 day trial. We want to ensure that not only would the horse be good for Agape, but would that horse excel and flourish as a therapy horse? Staff works together to create a safe environment that resembles most closely what the horse will experience in his new job. We (literally!) throw everything at him that he would come across as a therapy horse.
We will see if the horse has the natural capacity for not only therapeutic riding, but also equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) serving those with emotional, behavioral or learning issues. It is during this time when we get to experience our future equine partners work their magic for the first time.
At Agape, our herd is more than a group of fantastic horses. They are our partners. They are an extension of our own hands and feet in service. They are the carriers of safety, challenge, friendship and victory for their students. Without our horses we would not be able to observe and experience the miracles that happen every day at Agape.
Consider how you can help our horses work their magic. Come to Horse Leader Training to work with them during classes. Become a Four Legged Friend to spend quality time off the job. Donate Buckets & Bales for their care or even adopt one for a year. There are many ways to be involved with the herd directly to help them do what they were created to do… serve others with unconditional, Agape, love.
~ Rachel Royston, Equine & Training Coordinator