San Antonio-area therapy program uses horses to help kids recover from trauma

SJRC Texas teamed with Triple H Equitherapy to provide horse-assisted activities, therapy for children

SAN ANTONIO – SJRC Texas is thinking outside the box when it comes to caring for their kids and young adults. SJRC Texas provides a home for children and young adults that are affected by trauma, abuse, and neglect.

The organization has recently partnered with Triple H Equitherapy to help bring a sense of normalcy to the children’s lives. Triple H is a ranch that connects horses with residents who wish to take part.

“Any sort of support or resource that we can provide our youth and care is truly beneficial for all of us and we want to be able to give them the support that they truly need,” Lauren Sides, chief public relations officer for SJRC Texas, said.

Residents take part in a program that runs two hours a week for eight weeks where they learn the basics about horses, from mounting to riding.

“They learn how to catch, how to groom, to tack and eventually how to ride,” Keisha Gonzales, director of operations at Triple H Equitherapy Center, said.

Zoey is one of the residents taking part in the program. She partnered with Stanley, or actually, Stanley partnered with her.

“The horses chose us. The way Stanley chose me was he decided to follow me around when I was going to meet all the other other horses,” Zoey said.

And they have been together ever since.

“Although things were a little rocky at first, he is kind of stubborn like me and he just didn’t really cooperate a lot, but as the eight weeks went on we’ve really gotten better at it,” Zoey said.

The bonding is the reason for the program, because it’s the bonding with the horse that brings the results SJRC Texas and Triple H are looking for.

“The human-horse bond is the key to the program, we do have a mental health professional here to help facilitate therapy, but the horses are the ones that make it happen,” Gonzales said.

Zoey has learned both about responsibility and caring for an animal. She also learned to lean on Stanley to help her cope with certain situations.

“They connect with our feelings, they feel our vibe. So they just really help you with coping and everything because they understand you,” Zoey said.

And for those working with the program, it’s exactly what they want to see.

“We love to see them happy and truly healing and thriving at the same time,” Sides said.

About the Author

David Sears, a native San Antonian, has been at KSAT for more than 20 years.

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