The month of June is dedicated to several special programs in place of our regular weekly therapeutic riding lessons. We are very excited about two new pilot programs here at Swiftsure Ranch, one for Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, and one for Hippotherapy. We will be evaluating the resources (staffing, space, equines) needed as well as the goals and outcomes of these new programs in order to hopefully integrate them into the services offered here in the future. June 25th is our first ever Sibling Camp, in response to requests from parents of many of our participants. And a group of veterans from the Boise VA will be joining us for a day spent enjoying the horses and learning from them.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) Pilot Program Tuesdays and Thursdays in June
EFP is defined as an interactive process in which a licensed mental health professional working with or as an appropriately credentialed equine professional, partners with suitable equine(s) to address psychotherapy goals set forth by the mental health professional and the client. We have three staff members so far who have gotten certified as Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning who are qualified to assist in these sessions and are working with a local psychotherapist for this pilot program. The goals of an EFP session are those of a clinical therapy session, and thus differ from therapeutic riding lesson goals. EFP sessions can be mounted or unmounted, but the focus for this initial program will be on unmounted work, and the participants will be a group of at-risk youth. The goal of this exciting pilot will be to determine Swiftsure Ranch’s ability to serve a variety of mental health needs within the Wood River Valley.
The American Hippotherapy Association, Inc., defines hippotherapy as a physical, occupational or speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. The term hippotherapy refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy by physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech/language pathologists to address impairments, functional limitations and disabilities in patients with neuromotor and sensory dysfunction. This treatment strategy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional goals. A local physical therapist has gotten her Hippotherapy certification and is excited to start seeing some of her patients at Swiftsure Ranch. The goals for these sessions are physical therapy goals, and again, differ from therapeutic riding goals. The sessions are led by the hippotherapist with assistance from trained staff and volunteers, and the pilot program will consist of 2-4 year old participants.
Sibling Camp June 25
For the first time ever, Swiftsure will be offering a day of riding lessons and horse activities for siblings of our regular weekly participants. So often, participants’ siblings come to the ranch to watch their siblings ride and cheer them on, and leave wishing that they too could participate. This is a day for them to get their turn!
Veterans from the Boise VA group are coming to Swiftsure Ranch to participate in a day of Equine Assisted Activites and Therapies. Every time a new group of veterans come to the ranch, they are amazed at how much the horses have to offer. While they are having fun, enjoying the horses and the ranch, they also end up learning a lot about themselves, their relationships, and their place in the world.