Texas Boys Ranch uses Equine Therapy to develop kids' social ski

Texas Boys Ranch uses Equine Therapy to develop kids' social skills, confidence and patience

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LUBBOCK -

Kids living at the Texas Boys Ranch use Equine Therapy to build confidence, life skills and friends after being displaced from their homes.

Abby is sixteen years old. Her sanctuary is surrounded by a pack of colts.

"I was really like a really sad person, and I was really like, emotional," Abby said. "When I was sad I'd come up here when nobody was up here and I'd just talk to Whiskey better than I talk to Miss Kendra."

Miss Kendra, is Kendra Jones. A licensed professional counselor and Equine Specialist.

She works with the horses and kids on social skills, self-confidence, patience and problem solving. All from a horse.

"The size of the horse, when a kid understands I can control this one thousand, fifteen hundred pound horse, I can control what's going on for me," Jones said. "Many of them have talked about the horse being their best friend. Something they can talk to that listens and so that relationship sometimes is the most healing."

According to Jones, most of the kids are receptive to the horses and even start to identify with them.

"Some are very empathetic, some are a little more stubborn, so there's times that we then can say, alright, what is it like working with Peanut, who is a little stubborn, and are you ever a little stubborn and how can we change that?" she explained. "How can you maybe work on that. Anything we're working on in the arena, we also say, in your cottage, at school with friends, how can we help, how can we make things just a little bit better or easier."

According to Abby, the horses have made her life easier. She considers the thirty horses at the ranch, her best friends.

"Just something about them calms me down, makes me happy," Abby explained.

In just the year Jones has worked with Abby, she's seen growth.

"You see the fruit of the seed you're planting, sometimes we don't see that but in her we've seen that. It's been really amazing to watch her grow," Jones said.

For Abby, the horses give her direction and responsibility. She feeds and grooms them every day.

"It's important because I know what to do and like I'm not everywhere," she said.

"Just to see the impact you can have on a young person's life is pretty touching, it's life changing, not just for me, but for them as well," Jones added.

Abby started at the emergency shelter and has been at the ranch for a year. She's going to be a junior in high school and starting the process to find a forever family.

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