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Beyond the white picket fence

Dirty secrets part 4 Final


The CDC reports that one in six boys and one in four girls is sexually abused before age 18.

After-effects of sexual abuse can vary from child to child. The most immediate and problematic issues can be: PTSD, depression, guilt, shame, anxiety, grief, and social isolation.

Adults who experience sexual abuse in childhood are known to suffer with post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can cause hyper-vigilance in unknown settings, flashbacks, panic attacks, insomnia, and emotional numbness (the feeling that their body isn’t their own).

The road to recovery can be long and agonizing without a clear plan. A therapist who is trained in trauma and PTSD therapy is a must. The various therapy methods include talk, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing), medications, alternatives such as yoga or meditation, and therapeutic equine therapy.

The benefits of horse therapy are almost immediate. A 2017 article in “ptsd uk” states, ”research studies have shown that therapeutic horseback riding can lead to a significant statistical decrease in PTSD.” How does riding horses help those with PTSD? The journal of “Rehabilitation Research &Development” explains,“As prey animals, horses are hyper-vigilant until they learn they are not in danger. Unlike dogs, who trust unconditionally, horses require humans to work to gain their trust. Humans must become aware of the body language of the horse, which helps them become aware of their own body.” The data shows that 66.7% of people who engaged in riding have a lower PTSD score in just three weeks; that number jumps to 87.5% in only six weeks. In February 2019, Parade magazine wrote on kidnapped and sexual abuse victim Jaycee Dugard’s road to recovery. They reported the equine-facilitated therapy she and her family received after her abduction was paramount to her recovery. This led to the start of the JAYC foundation, whose purpose is to help others gain the same access to healing through animal therapy. Equine Assisted Therapists are trained in psychology, usually with a minimum of a bachelors degree. These individuals are also certified with a Certification Horsemanship Association ( CHA ) or Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship certificate. These highly trained therapists integrate cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches better communication, mindfulness, trust and relationship challenges.

A goal for Selah Mountain Ranch ministries is to start the same treatment for those suffering from PTSD and other conditions known to be helped by equine therapy. The ranch has 110 acres on which to build a barn, corral, and indoor riding arena. The El Paso County sheriff’s office deputy’s in Colorado say they will put in the man-power to build the horse stables. The horses will be donated and/or their handlers will bring them to the ranch.

How can you help? I am so glad you asked! We need the funds to buy the building materials.

Selah Mountain Ranch is set to begin an online “barn raising “ event this fall/winter. Look to our future blogs and posts for more information on how you can help with this huge endeavor.

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