How horse therapy is improving lives in Utah

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HIGHLAND, Utah (ABC4 News) Research has shown that equine therapy or horse therapy can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help people with physical ailments, addictions, and mental health issues. 

Recently, we caught up with a Utah family that says horse therapy has completely changed their daughter’s life. 

Shauna Walters is getting ready to ride. But before that, she brushes and preps a horse named Wishy. And according to her mother it is a part of her week that she absolutely loves.

And her mother, Karen Walters, adds – the time she has spent with the horses has absolutely improved her daughter’s life. 

“She gets to ride a horse and that is a dream of hers. And when she talks to other people that’s a special thing she can say about herself. That she rides horses. And she gets a big sense of fulfillment.”

That’s because this isn’t just a ride. It’s an equine therapy session at Courage Reins in Highland. One of the many sessions that has helped the 21-year-old deal with and forget about a list of medical issues.

“We started out with an undiagnosed metabolic disorder. She started having seizures. She has Turner’s syndrome – which is a genetic disorder.”

Her medical issues use to be the focus of her life.  Her mother says Courage Reins has changed that.

“So, it makes her a participator and an active person in life instead of passive and trying to get through from illness to illness.” And Shauna recognizes the changes as well. “It helps me feel confident like confident in life.” 

While her mom says the horse therapy sessions have helped Shauna physically.

“She utilizes her whole body. She uses large muscles and with her hands and arms she is using small muscles for control.” She says the horse sessions here have also worked on her mental and social issues. “When people ask her about doing something she could never make a decision. Before she thought she had to do whatever the person she was talking to wanted her to do. This is a great blessing to help her make actual choices. Yes, I want to do this. I don’t want to do the other thing.”

Throughout her life, Shauna has needed therapy. But Karen says horse therapy at Courage Reins – has been the best therapy of them all.

“I’ve spent my life trying to give her a chance to live. I’ve spent my life trying to make her strong enough to live. And when she comes here people believe in her and help her do something that is special to her and special to other people.” 

Courage Reins Equine Therapy is located in Highland, Utah.  It was founded 21 years ago as a  501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Courage Reins strives to make services available to all who seek alternative therapy, no matter their income or ability to pay. 

Courage Reins works to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, by providing a safe, fun and challenging environment where physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth can occur through therapeutic riding and other equine based activities.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

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