Bus 52 Presents: Healing with Horses





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Published on Oct 11, 2012


In Waverly, Minnesota, women veterans who have returned from duty are finding the support and friendship essential to their recovery from wounds, both emotional and physical, they sustained in combat. This healing is being achieved not primarily thanks to therapy but because of horses at Freedom Farm.

Executive Director, Susie Bjorklund explains that, "Freedom Farm is a therapeutic riding center. We offer therapeutic riding, which is also known as adaptive riding for children and adults with all types of special needs and we also have a program for women veterans."

Their program for women veterans, aptly named Healing with Horses, began three years ago after Bjorklund decided she wanted to create a program for veterans. While at first Bjorklund envisioned a mix of men and women attending, with perhaps more men, she was surprised to find that it was women who most needed and accepted the program.

"We've found that there is no place for just women veterans to go," says Bjorklund. "They have a harder time feeling accepted at the local VA and they needed a place for them to feel safe and a place where they can heal."

Healing with Horses now has six women participants who meet at the farm each week on Thursday. "They arrive at 9am and they're with a licensed psychologist for a two-hour ... group sharing time and then they come to the barn with me for another two to three hours where they get their horse," explains Bjorklund.

While working with the horses, the women will "groom, saddle, some of them will ride and enjoy riding the horse together." For those who are in too much physical pain that day, they will groom their horse and then work on grounding with horse, "getting herself centered and doing some massage with the horse."

The benefits of working with horses are many, from simply being around the horses and grooming them, which gives them a deep sense of calm and peace, to riding their horse, which keeps their minds on the moment and is an excellent physical workout and therapy. "They're working on finding joy minute by minute. They're working on feeling that are part of society and can contribute," says Bjorklund.

Read more ... http://bus52.com/profiles/healing-wit...


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