Trails Carolina Celebrates Equine Graduations
This month at Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for pre-teens and adolescents, staff and students are celebrating the graduation of six horses from their equine program. All of the horses at Trails are rescues, learning to trust people again in order to eventually move on to their forever home. In March, six of those horses will graduate from the Trails program and move to other farms and ranches across the country.
Equine programming provides a supportive environment for students to model their human relationships with horses. Students build their relationship skills, learn to self-regulate, and practice non-verbal communication through their interactions with the horses.
When entering the program, the horses are in a parallel process with the students. Many students come to Trails with challenges that make it difficult to open up and feel comfortable in their relationships. Similarly, the rescue horses may need time to build trust. By working together, the students learn the value of trust and how to maintain a healthy relationship.
“We encourage our students to view their relationship with the horses as a reflection of themselves and what they bring to the relationships in their lives,” said Experiential Education Director Kyle Shepard, MS, LRT, CTRS. “Equine programming helps students develop tools to communicate more effectively and get their needs met in a healthy way.”
Horses are intelligent animals that emulate the emotions they feel from their handlers. Through their interactions with the horses, students can better understand how their own behaviors affect themselves and others Much like the horses, eventually, students will be ready to move to the next steps in their lives and will have gained the skills needed to thrive.
Students are excited to celebrate the graduation of their equine friends and look forward to building their relationships with the next generation of horses that join Trails’ equine program.
For more information about equine programming, please visit https://trailscarolina.com/adventure-therapy-programs/equine-programming or call 800-975-7303.
About Trails Carolina
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy for pre-teens and adolescents ages 10-17. The clinically sophisticated and time-tested program engages students through wilderness therapy, mindfulness and yoga, equine-assisted therapy, intentional transitions, and academic engagement. Recent outcome research demonstrates efficacy. Trails Carolina was created to help families reconnect and heal. For additional information about Trails Carolina, located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.