Texas Boys Ranch offers equine therapy, a sure way to comfort ki - FOX34 Lubbock

Texas Boys Ranch offers equine therapy, a sure way to comfort kids

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

When kids arrive at the Texas Boys Ranch, an often painful history can come with them. A staple at the ranch - equine therapy. It serves as a comfort that goes beyond what humans can give. 

Therapy can come in different forms. For kids at the Texas Boys Ranch, horses serves as a vessel to ease and understand life's challenges. 

"Something will happen and the kid will label it and say well that horse is being stubborn... it's not listening. And nine times out of ten, that kid has had trouble listening or being stubborn," Clinical Director Shalana Jacobi said. 

Equine specialists, like Mackenzie Williams, know animal behaviors can mirror human traits. 

"Sometimes the horse will remind them of somebody in their life and then they get to work through problems with this horse that has characteristics that they've decided are similar to people they're struggling with or getting along really well with," Williams said. 

Human emotions seen in and expressed through the animal can help kids feel understood. 

"We'll compare it and say 'why do you think they do that? Do you do that sometimes? Why do you do it?' And it helps them just kind of work through it," Jacobi said, "and we say 'well, what's something different you could do? What could you do different with the horse? what could an adult do different with you?'"

Experts at the Boys Ranch say equine assisted psychotherapy is a solution-focused type of therapy that gives kids a way to feel safe expressing themselves. 

"Instead of just talking about problems, the horses are very reactive to what the person brings in to session," Jacobi said. 

It also teaches life skills and commitment to chores by helping take care of the animals. 

"They get to work on teamwork, trust building, respect, and all those kids of skills as well," Williams added. 

There are 24 horses at the Boys Ranch. 20 work as therapy horses and two are being trained for it. 

"This one would be a staple and it has definitely grown with the arena added on and the barn added on. It did not start this way at all," Jacobi said. 

As the ranch expands, so does the need for community support. 

The Texas Boys Ranch Telethon is Saturday. It runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. from the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts. There are lots of items up for auction. Click here - to start bidding.

 

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