During July, we had the opportunity to have the NAMI Bluebird teen group at the ranch for a bit every Tuesday! Each week we would lead the teens through various equine facilitated learning activities both mounted and on the ground using our herd of therapy horses. The focus each was specific on each activity to help support the teens, build trust, and give a sense of freedom!
NAMI’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people with mental health challenges and their families through support, education, and advocacy, and to bridge the gap between urban and rural mental health services.
In the last week at the ranch, we gave each participant a word, and with that word, they were to paint what it means to them on their horse. Below we share the words that our participants were assigned as well as describe what that word means to them.
Our first image is Kate with the word strength. What that strength means is that our participant can do whatever she wants! She feels strong when she’s around Kate.
The second image is Roxy with the word, believe. He believes in Roxy and, she’s the best because Roxy believes in him!
On the other side of Roxy, you will find our third word, compassion. You’ll notice the hearts of various colors for compassion. The colorful hearts are because no matter where you are in the world or what you’re doing if you have compassion, you can have a love for anyone.
Vera was paired with our fourth word, kindness. Our participant said their painting of kindness meant the following. With kindness, patience, and love, you can have anything grow in the environment. On the other side of Vera, you’ll see a tall sturdy tree representing strength.
Word six was faith, and she depicted faith by how she believes in herself and has the confidence to trust in anything she does!
Kate had the word of love for her other side. She was showing two people caring with love under the word itself.
Finally, we wrapped up with kindness and Roxy. With kindness, nurturing love, and patience, you can have anything grow, like a flower!
It was so fun hearing these teens explain what their painting meant to them on their final day at Swiftsure. Using the therapy horses as a canvas is just one of the many ways these equine friends help make a secure connection for the participant. Throughout the month, we kept hearing words like fun, experience, trust, excitement, and love. These buzz words are how we know we’re making an impact!