PEP Willow Creek Begins Equine-Assisted Therapy

PEP Willow Creek Begins Equine-Assisted Therapy

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. This quotation, famously coined by Winston Churchill, is being put to the test at PEP Willow Creek this year. Each week a group of students heads to Reining for Hope in Olmsted Township for equine-assisted therapy.

According to the Reining for Hope website, “equine therapy enables you to take control of your life while improving your physical and emotional well-being. When you partner with a horse, your central nervous system grows calmer and provides a pathway to finding your way back to your best self.”

Lessons with Deeper Meaning

Quintin Putt, principal at PEP Willow Creek, says that students not only love going, but are learning important social emotional lessons as well.

“There is a lesson plan for each session,” he said. “For instance, one lesson was about how the animals read our emotions and reactions. The students learned that to interact with the horses and other animals, they needed to remain calm and regulated.” He explained that the animals and their emotional states, are a metaphor for our own self-regulation.

Other lessons included topics like how to care for the animals and how to walk horses around an arena. Like the self-regulation lesson, these topics held deeper meaning as well. Taking care of the horses, from grooming to stall cleaning, is a way to show responsibility and care for others. Leading a horse requires leadership.

“This program has been so beneficial and made such a difference for our students,” said Putt. “This is something I will definitely continue with new classrooms in the future.”

At PEP, we know that for young people to be able to learn, they must first be emotionally regulated. Equine assisted therapy is just one way we work with our students so that they can achieve success in the classroom and beyond.