Equine therapy brings results for children

By Ryan Pilon
October 6, 2010 - 7:36am Updated: October 6, 2010 - 8:36am

A new riding stable will help Ranch Ehrlo Society's Buckland campus expand its Equine Assisted Therapy Program.

Heather Chow teaches children at Ranch Ehrlo how to ride horses. She said it doesn't take long before she can see the changes in them.

"It is amazing to see the kids come in pretty shy, not willing to talk (and) to see them leave the building saying, 'Thank you, thank you. When can we come back?'," said Chow.

“They're petting the horses, they're so excited. And that change happens within an hour.”

Randy O'Shaughnessy, the senior director of northern programs for Ranch Ehrlo said horses help the kids learn to control themselves.

"If you're not feeling up to snuff one day, or you're feeling angry or over-anxious or something, the horses can pick up those tendencies. So the horse helps the kids regulate their emotions. The horses are a great barometer on having the kids register on how to control those emotions," he said.

Vincent, whose last name is being withheld for his protection, is one of the kids at Ranch Ehrlo. He said riding has helped him become more outgoing.

"I used to never know people here, now I know lots of people," he said.

Future plans for the arena include opening the programs to the public, so everyone will be able to experience what it feels like to ride a horse.

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