‘Horses Could Help Us Become Better People’: How a Malvern Nonprofit Uses Equine Therapy for Healing

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Gateway HorseWorks, a nonprofit in Malvern, has used horses to help those suffering from trauma find peace since 2015, writes Beccah Hendrickson for 6ABC. 

Founded by Kristen de Marco, the nonprofit is home to rescue horses and retired racehorses who help with equine-assisted psychotherapy. Clients are paired with a licensed mental health practitioner and equine specialist when they begin.

“My life kind of fell apart when I was going through a divorce. I heard about horses working in mental health and I was fascinated. They were doing what I always knew horses could do—really help us become better people,” said de Marco. 

The open environment of the farm and interaction with the animals allows for effective healing, and it especially helps those who may have trouble with traditional talk therapy. Clients range from crime victims and human trafficking survivors to school-aged kids. 

There is no riding, and all the work is done on the ground. Healing exercises can take the form of finding the courage to simply pet the horse or giving it water. 

“The horses become metaphors or symbols in the client’s story,” she said. “This is really helpful, specifically for people who have experienced trauma.” 

Read more about Gateway HorseWorks at 6ABC

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