Connecting through Horses
Updated: Nov 7, 2019
"I saw Heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True" - Revelations 19:11
I am passionate about horses and equine therapy. God made horses for more than just enjoyment by people who have a passion for them. He also made these beautiful creatures to reduce levels of anxiety and stress, improve moods, and create a sense of peace and contentment in humans. Horses are able to promote spiritual, physical, psychological and occupational healing in post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers. Non-threatening, trusting, and open relationships can be built within connections between humans and horses. This also breeds further positive feelings of patience, love, respect, safety, and empathy.
I have been a direct care coach with Wings of Refuge for several years. During my first year working in the home, I began incorporating equine therapy into my time spent with survivors living at Wings of Refuge. Each week the women and I would pack into the van and head out to my barn and work with my horses. I worked with the women to connect with the horses through grooming, talking to them, and giving them horse treats. By the end of the summer the women would connect with the horse so much that they could go from the use of a rope and halter to walking the horse independently and eventually removing the halter. The horse would mirror and follow everything that their human partner wanted them to do. It was truly a connection that only God could make. It was so exciting to see the transformation. The smiles on the faces of the women put tears in my eyes.
The next year I found a six week equine program for the the women to participate in called 'Ride With The King.' This program is offered through Riverside Bible Camp in Story City. It is a ministry that uses horses as a tool to help people of all ages understand Christ’s unconditional love in a way that encourages them to live for Him. Again, seeing the transformation and smiles that develop between a young woman and a horse continued to impact me.
We continue to incorporate horses and their healing power whenever possible. We have even been blessed with volunteers who share their horses with the women in our home.
The equine therapy component of our programming at Wings of Refuge continues to grow today. Next year we hope to begin partnering with One Heart Equestrian Therapy in Ames.
Please consider giving a gift that will allow survivors living at the safe home the ability to participate in one of these programs. By seeing it first hand, I promise it makes a difference in the lives of the women at Wings of Refuge.
by Kathleen Miller
Direct Care Coach