The Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Horse Program "rewires" kids' brains, helping them overcome physical and emotional abuse, violence, multiple placements, and other traumas that make it difficult for them to succeed in school and at home. Our certified professionals provide several different types of horse therapies.
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy uses the horse as a tool for a licensed therapist to provide mental health treatment. Young people who ordinarily shun physical and emotional closeness with other people can often accept it from a horse. The bond between child and horse can help children develop trust, respect, affection, empathy, unconditional acceptance, confidence, responsibility, assertiveness, communication skills and self-control. To succeed with a horse, children must exercise patience, understanding, attention, forgiveness and consistency-abilities they will find useful throughout their lives.
Connecting with the horse can also reduce a child's reluctance to talk about their thoughts and feelings. By walking beside the horse and child, the therapist can connect with the child and talk about issues they are unable or unwilling to discuss in any other setting.
Therapeutic Riding provides physical, psychological, social, and educational benefits for people with and without disabilities. Riding a horse provides a unique, and often profound, experience. A child who learns how to build a relationship with a horse can extend this to others and form meaningful relationships with people. The trust and loyalty of a horse teaches children the direct correlation between action and reaction. Riding empowers children and helps them connect on a personal level, sometimes for the first time. The unpredictable nature of a horse also creates a real-life environment in which children are able to confront their fears and make adjustments to situations beyond their control.
For kids who have been traumatized by abuse, neglect, or abandonment, horse therapy helps them open their hearts again.
Hippotherapy means "treatment with help from the horse." The Ranch Horse Program offers Hippotherapy in cooperation with Trinity Hospital in Minot. Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech therapy treatment strategy that uses the movement of the horse for individuals with Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, traumatic brain injury, developmental delays, learning or language disabilities, and more. It has been shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development, and emotional well-being. The horse's walk provides sensory input through movement, which is varied, rhythmic and repetitive-similar to the human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking.