Students of the Between Horses and Humans program enjoy the use of the beautiful Maddi’s Friesian Ranch set at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in picturesque Douglas County, Nevada. The Ranch affords 80 acres of open pasture land with lush green grass and sweeping views of the Carson Valley. Lessons provide students with the opportunity to get outside in the fresh air, and to learn valuable lessons through their interaction with the horses and volunteers.
Simply being with a horse can be very uplifting. Each horse has their own personality. Here a student scratches Mari and enjoys Mari’s comical facial expressions.
Students learn about caring for their horses, translating into the lesson that it is important that they also learn to care for themselves.
Students are given time with their volunteers to talk about anything that is on their mind. Opportunities come during the simplest of moments, such as walking the horse back to its stall or pasture. As trust develops between the student and their horse, so too it develops between the student and volunteer. This provides a unique opportunity for students to discuss issues or receive gentle guidance from an impartial adult outside of their parental or guardianship unit.
Working with horses provides children with exposure to situations they would never otherwise have experienced, broadening their horizons and building their confidence through uncertainty. Just like in life, when working with the horses things don’t always go as expected. While being walked around the arena by a small boy, Silver decided it was time to have a roll in the dirt! The student watched as nobody panicked or got upset with him, nobody was angry because Silver wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing. They simply experience the moment. When life takes unexpected turns it’s not because you are doing something wrong. And the best way to handle it is to embrace it, be patient, and walk through it.
At Between Horses and Humans students learn to handle the unexpected, understand when routine is important, and that each horse (and each person) is unique. Between Horses and Humans is a safe, nurturing environment where children experience lives changed, hearts healed.