Raven Rock Ranch Programs
How Raven Rock Ranch is Unique From Other Horse Therapy Programs
Horses are often used for therapy. There are organizations that work with the disabled demographic. Locally, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center serves this population. They charge student tuition and use horses as a tool to strengthen muscles and bones, while improving balance.
Raven Rock Ranch (RRR) works with an at-risk adolescent demographic (troubled youth at-risk for various negative outcomes, ranging from mild to severe). Examples include: Truancy, drug or alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide, and emotional &/or psychological disturbances.) RRR does not charge any student tuition and relies 100% on donations. RRR uses Equine-Facilitated Therapy and Equine-Facilitated Learning pairing one horse with one child to form a feeling of ownership and connection between the at-risk youth and the horse. Our program is designed to teach skills such as cooperation, trust, mentoring, and responsibility with the goal of transferring these skills into their everyday lives and reconnecting with peers, family and their community.
Our time with each youth is at least 90 minutes. During that time, the child brushes their horse, often with the help of their foster parent or adoptive parent, as many of our kids are in foster care or the adoption system. This working shoulder-to-shoulder allows the child to connect with those working with him/her. Most of the time, we work around the ranch together, too. Cleaning stalls, sweeping, cleaning saddles and bridles all help to offer the child a feeling of accomplishment and self-pride. They are really helping their horse. All of the riders work one-on-one with an instructor. The bond developed that includes the horse, rider and instructor, is the real beginning of emotional healing.
Our students learn to work which provides dignity and self-confidence. There are some children that transition into volunteers at the ranch and onto paid staff.
We use Equine-Facilitated Therapy and “Natural Horsemanship” with an emphasis on "Liberty Work" to encourage mental and emotional connection between the human and the horse. There is no cost for our students. We are 100% supported by donations.
Raven Rock Ranch also rescues abused and abandoned horses. Some horses we receive will just need to be "re-homed" from an owner who cannot provide for their basic needs (owner will quite likely have the best interest of the horse in mind and may donate the animal to our program), others will truly need to be rescued from situations of neglect and abuse (owner will likely not part with horse unless dollars are involved.) Once a horse is in our care, assessments will be made to see if the animal will work into our program. We carefully evaluate each horse for temperament and reliability.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Some recent successes at RRR
We primarily work with foster children that come from very abusive environments. Therefore we are typically dealing with attachment disorder, anger, abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and abandonment issues to name a few.
Please see our testimony video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUL0CM1pR4g&feature=youtu.be
These are quotes from our riders and/or the guardians or parents of our riders:
“Raven Rock Ranch saved my life”
“In the first two weeks of “F” time at RRR she went from being the meanest kid in the school to being kind and accepting of others.”
“We feel unconditionally loved and accepted at RRR.”
After several threats of wanting to kill his mother, 10 year old “S” visited Raven Rock Ranch. After his second visit, he said, “I Love You!” His mom hadn’t heard those words in a very long time.
“We have been having a rough week the only thing holding us together right now is Raven Rock Ranch.”
“Teachers reporting the child went from being mean to having compassion for peers and the grades went up”
Our current need is a covered arena so our program can run all year round.