Monday, 29 August 2011

Horse Therapy Programs for Troubled Youths

CaptureThe Bexar County Juvenile Detention Treatment Center is trying out a new approach using horse therapy to help troubled youths. Every week for two months, a group of 8 teens made the 60 mile round trip from the Detention Center to Natalia for Equine Therapy, just west of San Antonio where they learn about themselves while working with horses.
image005"They're very tough boys, they're very macho. Most of them have gang affiliation, and issues with trauma, abuse and abandonment," Tamara Lamprecht Vasquez, Clinical Supervisor for the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Treatment Center explains. "To get them out here softens them. They shed that hard exterior and show their true personalities which they have spent years hiding." image003
Most of the teens have never spent time around a horse. As 17 year old Jesus said "Wow! These animals are so big. I have never been around horses. I've seen them but never been this close."
The teens do not ride the horses but meet at ground level as equals learning about interacting with these large powerful animals with the observation and guidance of a mental health therapist. How they approach horses is has a direct link to how they approach people and challenges in their lives. They learn from that how the horses respond to them. Horses are herd animals. They experience the same kind of feelings. Through them the young men see their own problems and find ways to deal with them.
"I am learning to calm down by counting to ten. I'm developing coping skills especially in dealing with my anger because I was an angry child," Jarvis said. "It helps me put myself in somebody else's shoes. I understand what it's like to see my anger through something else. Theimage007 emotions they have are kind of the same emotions that we have," said Jesus.
"When horses are around a lot of people, they tend to get frustrated, same as me. When I'm around a lot of people, I tend to get frustrated," said 17 year old Jarvis who feels the Equine therapy is helping him learn to get to grips with and channel his frustration in a less aggressive fashion.
When one of the horses kicks out, outside of the fence in sudden anger, both 17 year old Jaime and his horse are thoroughly startled. Jaime reacts equally angrily and storms off, refusing to have any participate any further. A counsellor asks the group, what they think is going on with Jamie at that moment, and encourages them to really get image001to grips with what they think are the underlying reasons for the behaviour. Walach goes on to explain to them, "Bottom line he got scared. Jaime took the whole situation with the horses personally even though it had nothing to do with him." The therapists then worked with Jaime then went on to work with the therapists to learn how to control his anger.
In this way Vasquez says they learn from the horses and each other. It helps them "To pull out that inner self and have that insight and be able to take that back home and work with their families and their futures." 17-year-old Jarvis agrees. "I've learned how to use the skills I learn from this place to benefit me. It was a privilege for me to come out here. This would be a wonderful experience for kids of all ages to come out here."

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Miniature Horse Trains as Guide for Muslim

Mona Ramouni, a Muslim, rides a bus to her job at K&R Braille Transcribing with her guide horse, Cali, in nearby Lincoln Park, Mich. 28-year-old Mona Ramouni an attentive Sunni Muslim lost her sight to retina damage, a common side effect of premature birth. She has lived, studied and worked in the Detroit suburbs all her life relying on her family to guide her around. As a Braille textbooks proof-reader, she craved more independence. Respecting the feelings of her Jordanian-born parents, who like many Muslims consider dogs to be unclean animals, she also accepted that having a Guide Dog in the home was out of the question.
However, Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Michigan chapter, says however, that although most Muslims believe dogs can violate ritual purity, horses are viewed as "regal animals," though, "there would be concerns about bringing a horse into certain establishments and areas of worship as well."
Cali, a miniature 3-year-old former show horse, official title, Mexicali Rose standing about 30 inches tall and weighing about 125 pounds. "This is a really awesome little horse,"I want a horse that will be a partner for the next 30 or so years. ... What I really want is to be able to take her places and go places with her that neither of us ever would have been able to do without each other," Ramouni said.
There are only about five miniature horses besides Cali, trained as guides for the blind in the United States according to Cali's trainer, 61-year-old Dolores Arste.
Ramouni paid for the horse, $450 a month for Arste's training and other expenses out of her savings. Since she has had no experience of working with a guide dog, she has had to learn from scratch how to control a guide animal and has worked hard with Cali. "I've never met a young woman with so much dedication," Arste says. Cali’s training took place in both Hatfield, Ark., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.,where Arste taught her how to get in and out of vehicles, guide through crowds and stand still indoors.
Additional training may take an additional two months before Cali can join Ramouni for good, taking up residence in a newly erected shed on Ramouni's lawn. "Taking on a horse as a guide is a huge commitment, same as a dog but with more physical needs," Arste, 61, says. "It is not a novelty. It is a real working animal. The horses can live into their 30s, more than twice as long as most dogs.”
Having Cali as a guide has opened up new opportunities for Ramouni, but the U.S. government may soon tighten the laws on exactly what defines a guide animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act to exclude farm creatures such as horses. “The new ADA regulations are under review and final language will be issued later this year,” ~ Justice Department spokesman Alejandro Miyar.
Ramouni, meanwhile hopes to pursue a doctorate in child psychology at the university's main campus in Ann Arbor. “The benefits go beyond the practical. Before Cali, I had basically given up. I mean, I had been to the point where I thought, 'I'm going to get nothing out of my life’ And having Cali ... showed me that I had forgotten about all the optimism I had as a kid. When I was a kid, I thought I could do anything. I thought everything was possible."

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Can't comment on your blogs!!!!!

This is a temporary post...anyone who's blog is asking for "Choose a Profile" on the comments section, Blogger won't let me comment! It won't accept my email address, NOTHING! so be assured I am reading your posts but if you leave it like that I cannot leave a comment! Sorry :)

Detta är en tillfällig tjänst ...
Om du använder "Välj profil" i kommentarerna Jag kommer inte att kunna kommentera! Blogger låter mig inte kommentera! Det kommer inte att acceptera min e-postadress, ingenting! Tyvärr:)