Marsh Foundation Holds Annual Horse Program
VAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation recently held their annual horse program for youth. Over the past year, clinicians at The Marsh Foundation had the opportunity to go through the certification process in equine assisted learning and/or equine assisted psychotherapy. Equine assisted therapy incorporates a variety of treatments that involve activities with horses to assist in the promotion of physical and mental health for troubled youth. This certification will allow therapists, case managers and equine personnel to work together to provide an enriched therapeutic learning experience for the boys on campus.
With this addition to The Marsh’s summer horse program, it will provide a hands-on experience for the youth to showcase what they have been learning in treatment and apply it in the arena. As a result, the youth learned complex communication skills, “real-time” problem solving techniques and how to effectively work as a team. “Watching the kids take everything they had been learning and apply it in a different arena was priceless, stated clinical supervisor Annette Herrmann. “The pride that the kids had in what they had accomplished was truly unmatched.”
Equine assisted learning teaches youth how to effectively manage their emotions and behavioral responses. The horses are considered extensions of their riders and often mirror what is being non-verbally communicated by the riders. They respond to the physiological cues that the youth are presenting and reciprocate with the appropriate behavior response. “The instructors have seen children grow to care for the horses and learn more about themselves in the process. They engage in their treatment at a much higher level than they would have previously,” commented wellness case manager, Abigail Neville.
“They say when you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. That holds true for the Equine Department at The Marsh Foundation. Being able to help and watch the children grow in all aspects of life is one of the most rewarding jobs,” said summer horse program instructor, Leah Lichtensteiger. “This year has been one for the books. The growth these kids made was amazing. I am looking forward to what the future years bring,” she continued.
The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children's services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members throughout western Ohio.
Photo caption: Marsh youth showcased their skills at a recent end-of-summer horse program.