Spring 2014 Family Support Service Center Alliance

May 21, 2014

Domestic Violence Victims find Solace in Equine Therapy

By     David Grasso-Ortega – reporter at pronews 7




Equine therapy is being used to help rehabilitate families who are recovering from traumatic events right here in Amarillo.

Family Support Services and Horse Play at Mesquite Ranch are using equine therapy to help people deal with the legacy of their past crises, and restore their confidence in the future.

Equine therapy, or therapy that incorporates the use of horses, is being actively used by Family Support Services to help victims of domestic violence recover from their trauma. Family support services has counselors on staff who are present during the therapy and are able to follow up.

“What’s great about this is, it’s a relatively new kind of therapy; it’s probably been around for about twenty years and it’s been here a long time, and we’re just trying to get the word out that this is a wonderful way to work with traumatized people,” said Molly Rafferty of Family Support Services of Amarillo.

Clients are given time to build a relationship with the horse.  A group of families affected by domestic violence began their afternoon by bonding with the horses through a grooming exercise. Subsequently, the participants engage in a series of activities that are designed to bring out certain issues.  Later, the clients share their feelings about their experience with the horse in a follow up that is sometimes in a group therapy environment.

Frank Foster, the Owner of Mesquite Ranch, said that the trauma that these people have endured means that they’ve lost confidence in themselves and the world around them. The equine therapy helps restore trust and self-worth. The participants interact with the horses in a way that mimics real world interaction.

The horses are very much like people in that they have the same range of emotions, the same relationships, and they have a tendency to mirror the person working with them, and so a lot of times a person can see what they’re doing that’s not effective in their lives by seeing the horse react to that,” said Frank Foster, who is also a counselor that coordinates the equine therapy sessions. “This helps reestablish positive boundaries and work with dealing with self-esteem issues. A lot of them have lost their confidence, in themselves and their personal value. “

The goal of these exercises is to have people become more aware of their own feelings. Horse Play at Mesquite Ranch has been doing equine therapy for over 10 years and has served nearly a thousand clients in the Amarillo area.




Ready to Fly

March 20, 2014
  Next stop....Norway!   We sold our Melody to Sunniva in Norway and she is enroute as I write this post.  Katie at EquiFlight has been gracious enough to send pictures of her adventure.  I have been sharing them with my students at Humphrey's and plan to write a book.  We've even come up with a title....Melody's Marathon Move.

 But, Melody is not the only one "Ready to Fly."  ...to be continued.

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Presbyterian Home for Children

October 6, 2013
One of the greatest blessings we experience at Horseplay is the opportunity to work with the Presbyterian Home for Children(PHC). PHC provides a long-term home for kids and youth that are in need of a loving, positive place to belong and thrive. For the past two years the middle school and high school residents have come to us on a monthly, or more often, basis for Equine Assisted Therapy and life skills training.  We have used many of the techniques taught by EAGALA and those we create to de...
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Murder at the Deadwood Saloon!

April 22, 2013
  Well, it's not every Spring we start off with this much excitement!  Mindy Briggs is responsible for the shenanigans going on around here with a murder mystery dinner and fundraiser to support the projects of P.EO.  (I'm not sure what that stands for either), but they are mighty fine people.  We packed in close to 70  for a night with great entertainment, wonderful food, and lots of fun.  Thank you, Mindy for thinking of us when planning this event.  
   I started back teaching this last Fa...
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Moving Forward

June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012

   Summer at Horse Play is taking on a new look!  Our party barn has been enclosed, and its rustic pioneer theme now includes a livery stable, hotel, and even an old mine (many thanks to Washington Avenue Christian Church for the new additions).  Visualize the traditional red and white checkered table cloths covering tables, and we are stepping up the corporate training side of our ministry.  

   As we continue to serve our community with equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP), we ar...
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Best Year Ever!

January 12, 2012
  Each year Horse Play has grown, and with no exception, 2011 was our best year ever!  We want to thank Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center for collaborating with us, and especially Twilla Woolsey for purchasing those fine boots and getting to work to find funding, helping us with involvement in the schools, and so much more.   Thank you, Twilla.

   Amarillo Independent School District started a series of events through their Safe Schools Program offering "Hot Dogs and Horse Play" for parents...
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Horse Play Happenings!

November 7, 2010
June 13, 2011

As I write this, the outside temperature is in the high 90's, wind speed 35 to 45 mph, and 0 rainfall this year.  That being said, it is raining opportunity at Horse Play.  

We are so very thankful that we have our indoor arena.  It has become our "office" as we continue to reach out to area kids, individuals and families. We extend a huge thank you to J.W. Thomas of Thomas Redi-Mix for donating a wonderful covering of sand which has been a tremendous relief to our clients with r...
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Barn Blessing!

July 12, 2010
We had a successful barn blessing, celebrating the completion of our indoor arena.  Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped make this possible.  We will have an amazing year round program! The Lord is good! 

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Great moment from Cowboy Week at the Turn Center last year.

 Fancy has such attitude.  This was taken during Cowboy Week at the Turn Center.