Thorncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern is expanding its therapy program that aims to help first responders open up and heal their trauma, writes John McDevitt for KYW Newsradio.
The free six-week program starts with herd interaction, learning how horses communicate, and understanding what they are saying, explained Kim Longo, a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemen certified therapeutic instructor at Thorncroft Equestrian Center.
“I usually have them do a breathing exercise, because horses have this incredible ability to change their breathing to your breathing pattern,” she said.
This often leads to a bonding experience between rider and horse that can often be overwhelming for most people.
“It brings out a lot of deep trauma that people didn’t want to face in the past and it brings out a lot of emotion,” said Longo. “They’ll just stand there for 10 or 15 minutes just breathing with their horses.”
Each new session helps participants explore a new part of their mental health.
The first responders’ program follows the model of the center’s program for veterans which has been running for 15 years. That program was expanded in 2020 to include first responders.
Read more about Thorncroft Equestrian Center at KYW Newsradio.