Equestrian Therapy adds programs

LIMA — Equestrian Therapy at Fassett Farm has been serving clients for 40 years. People who work there recently have added some new programs into the mix, of which many people are not aware. Michele Andrews-Sabol, Executive Director of the Equestrian Therapy Program, spoke to the Lima Rotary Club on Monday about what’s available.

The horse-powered reading program is an eight-week course. It deals with decoding and phonemic awareness. Students do all the activities with a horse. Students interact with horses from the ground while using toys and props to identify obstacles and learn five critical reading skills: phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

“Before COVID, we were up to about 80 riders a week. We dropped way back. Now we are up to maybe 50 to 60 riders a week. So we’re kind of getting the word back out there that we’re still here,” Andrews-Sabol said.

Riders come from area schools, individual referrals, physician referrals, and nursing home rehabilitation centers of the general public that knows about the facility and the programming.

Andrews-Sabol has maintained the equestrian therapy program’s national certification of excellence in therapeutic riding from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding. She obtained certification, which makes the program the second in the state of Ohio to be a certified horsepower reading program as well as the certified stable moments program for individuals who experienced childhood trauma.

Equine-assisted psychotherapy is, as the name suggests, therapy that features interactions with horses. Unlike therapeutic horseback riding, a licensed mental health professional facilitates group sessions, and, in many cases, no horseback riding is involved. Equine-assisted Therapy instead focuses on caring for and working with horses to achieve goals similar to those of traditional psychotherapy.

From information gathered during the intake assessment, program directors develop an individualized plan of care to address specific life-skill goals. Plans address six life skill areas including self-worth, emotional awareness, self-regulation, responsibility, independence and healthy relationships.

Volunteers are wanted but must have an interest in the Equestrian Therapy Program and be 15 years old. They must commit to a regular schedule and new volunteer training. Volunteers may be used as sidewalkers, horse leaders, groomers, horse pals, landscaping, event prep or just about any other skill you may have to offer. Contact the program at 419-371-4887.

Reach Dean Brown at 567-240409

Dean Brown joined The Lima News in 2022 as a reporter. Prior to The Lima News, Brown was an English teacher in Allen County for 38 years, with stops at Perry, Shawnee, Spencerville and Heir Force Community School. So they figured he could throw a few sentences together about education and business in the area. An award-winning photographer, Brown likes watching old black and white movies, his dog, his wife and kids, and the four grandkids - not necessarily in that order. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0409.