Stable Connections Barn Blog

Follow the latest news and happenings at Stable Connections Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies, serving the communities of northern New Hampshire and Vermont.

Healing, Hope & Horses

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Almost every little girl goes through a phase where they are obsessed by horses; and while some outgrow it, others, including myself, find that the love of horses never leaves. Just what is it that draws us to them? Horses are beautiful, graceful creatures but they are also powerful. What I can express now as an adult that I knew as a child but couldn't find words for, was that the idea of this power was captivating: a horse's power could be controlled and therefore extend to yourself - something that children rarely feel and something all adults find lacking at some point in their journey through life. 

I never had an opportunity to connect with horses as a child, but as a 36-year-old I just had my chance. I discovered a whole new power to horses by the way of a veterans’ therapy group at Stable Connections, where I found myself as the only female participant and only civilian.

I entered the group excited but nervous. What could I possibly have in common with a group of men who had served their country, ranging from deployments during the Vietnam War to stateside deployments to fight COVID? I was reassured by Karen and her staff that I was just as much part of the group and that it was important for us to see the differences in how these two groups think and act. What I quickly learned was that the similarities far outweighed any differences.

Each week we gathered and joined our equine partners for ground based experiential activities along with times to share what was on our minds. It turns out that the common thread for all of us was that we each have minds and souls that have taken a beating in battles of all kinds—from physical war to my own personal war with mental health. The camaraderie that comes from finding the courage to share your struggles and hear “me too” is an amazing feeling. 

And what about those equine partners?  When traditional talk therapy doesn’t work or needs supplementing, equine assisted therapy can do wonders. A horse’s power is in all that they have to teach and share for those that are willing to listen. Horses mirror what is going on in one’s innermost being. Feeling nervous or angry? The horses will show you that through their behaviors. Feeling sad or lonely? The horses’ sense that too and provide comfort. I went in skeptical and came out a believer that horses know far more about what is going on in those around them than we give them credit for.

The healing I’ve experienced through this veterans’ group has helped move me forward in my journey to accept my mental illness and recognize that I’m not alone in my struggles. Everyone has a battle to fight, but it’s so much easier with some good friends and horses by your side.

—Tamara R. Reilly
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Karen Guile-Caron
CEO & Founder

2494 Route 102, Guildhall, VT
(802) 522-3048
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