Thursday, April 18, 2013

Horse Therapy

Sounds pretty funny, right?

Yeah, I thought so too the first time I heard about it.  

But then I started to look into it and quickly realized just how beneficial working with a horse could be to aide in the healing of many emotional challenges.

One of my dear friends in PA helped me locate a farm only 12 miles from our home.   I contacted the owner Darcy Woesnner of Project Horse and set up a time to meet with her to see if her organization would be a good match for our family (you can find them on FB here).  

Our visit was wonderful and I couldn’t wait to have the children begin to work with Darcy and one of her therapists.   I also set up some time to work through things that I had been dealing with and was excited to spend quality time with the horses.   You can meet a few of my friends here, here, here, and a 2012 year in review with the animals I love right here.

This is Darcy, introducing our youngest daughter to Iggy.

Here is one of my favorite photos of Iggy taken last week…isn’t she beautiful?


This next photo just makes me smile – it looks like she is soaking in every ounce of cuteness these two were showing her!





I remember my first session and having the horse pick me.  Literally she chose me and didn’t want any other horse to get my attention.  Originally I thought I would be working with Foster, a gelding with many trust issues.   (He has since worked through many of them and is a different horse than when I first met him last October.)  

This past week he went through emergency surgery for a serious bout of colic. 

The photos below were taken the day before he got sick.  He is back at the farm as of late yesterday afternoon, and is recovering very well. 

foster_1850If you feel led to help with the costs of his surgery, you can make a donation by going onto the Project Horse site. 


But inside I couldn’t shake the feeling of being intimidated by his intenseness (which became more intense by my inner struggles around him).  You see horses are like a constant drip of truth serum and they reflect back to you whatever you are feeling or trying to hide.   When they look into your eyes, it is like having your soul torn open for the world to see.  At least that has been my experience with several horses that I have spent time with this year.  Especially our leased sweet mare Dolly.   We spend lots of time nose to nose and eye to eye.

About a month ago my sessions ended and I began a different form of therapy (EMDR), yet, I still get to visit with the horses while our children have their weekly sessions.  

Here are the two horses I spent all of my time with during my three months of horse therapy…and this is Darcy full of life and joy!!!

Toby is on the left and Bella is on the right.  Bella is the horse that chose me as her own.  Within two sessions she became very protective of me and would not let Toby spend any time with me.  One time she just wasn’t willing to come with me so I worked with Toby alone.   BAD IDEA!  A mad mare is never a good thing.  Poor Toby couldn’t relax my entire session because she was in their paddock giving him every signal of you are in big trouble taking my girl away.   When I walked him back to their paddock she would NOT even look at me and gave Toby a really hard time.  Later I found out she was sad for the rest of that day.  She wasn’t willing to forgive me or Toby.  I felt so bad.   


I had to miss a few sessions due to weather and knew Bella would still be angry with me, but I had no idea how hard I would have to work to get her to forgive me.   I spent my entire next session practically begging her to allow me to be close to her again, scratching her, rubbing her, talking to her, and then finally I got in really close and we were eye to eye…and she started to cry.   That was it, the flood gates opened for me too.  I felt like I was with a dear friend who for whatever reason felt betrayed by me and was willing to forgive me.   I hugged her neck and all was right in the world again.   From that point on I never spent more than a moment with Toby during any session.  She made sure of it.   Her intuition was amazing too – she knew I needed lots of female bonding time.  I had lots of negative male energy to shake off and release.   She was always willing to give me the space and time to do both!  She always knew when I was ready to work with her and push through the emotional struggles I was trying to let go of.   I miss not seeing her every week.   I love watching her eyes light up when I come to say hello before or after our children’s sessions with her.   My name for her during our work together was “Sassy”  and it fits her personality perfectly.  

Our daughter has developed quite the bond with Toby and I was happy to capture a few photos of them together.  She is struggling saying good-bye to these precious creatures and friends who have helped her in so many powerful ways!   They truly are amazing teachers and always full of love!


This next one will be on a large canvas hanging in her new room!



Horses are a forever friend for her and one of God’s greatest gifts to her soul!

This smile never leaves her face when they are near.


These two women have played such an integral part in her healing journey to fully embrace being a pre-teen and deepening her love for horses.  She is beyond grateful for the work they have all done together over the last six months.   Thank you both from the bottom of my heart for loving our girl so well!   She will cherish this photo for years to come!


If you would like to meet more of the Project Horses – simply click here to view many of my favorite photos of them.


  1. Jill, I love what you've written and the beautiful way in which you capture life through your lens. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Jill, I loved reading your post and the beautiful way in which you capture life through your lens! Thank you for sharing.


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