LUBBOCK, Texas (KAMC) – The Equine Psychotherapy Program at the Texas Boys Ranch works to help kids at the Ranch cope with issues like anxiety, peer relationships and a variety of other things.
Throughout the pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic, the program, and horses, have been hard at work helping residents at the Texas Boys Ranch. A day typically starts with a connection between the client and their horse.
“We have them go greet your horse, see how they’re doing today,” Shalana Jacobi said. “There’s always different feels and the client always brings different things in.”
Even if the connection between the horse and the client isn’t instant, it’s a way for the client to work through whatever it is they’re going through to form a bond with their new friend.
“They’ll come in with baggage and the horse will be like, ‘I don’t like that,’ and as soon as the person works through it, the horse is like, ‘Yeah, we can be friends now,'” Mackenzie Williams said.
From there, it’s all about team work. Staff gives the client a task to work through their problems. They’ll work with their horse to perform the task. Then use what they learned and apply it to real-world situations.
During the pandemic, the program hasn’t changed much. Williams says the program has always practiced social distancing, since clients typically work one-on-one with their horse. Safety and health protocols have been put in place, like sanitizing gates and extra cleaning. Typically, MHMR patients participate in the program, but that has been suspended as no outside visitors are permitted during the pandemic.
But work with residents and the Texas Boys Ranch continues and the clients continue to grow with the help of their four-legged mentors, friends, and confidants.
“The beauty of the horses is they don’t know where you’re going, and they don’t know where you’ve been; and they don’t really care they just care about what you’re bringing that day,” Williams said.
The Texas Boys Ranch is always looking for volunteers to help at the ranch, sponsor a house or just donate a meal. To learn more, just click here.