Jack was only six when his parents died in a tragic accident, leaving him in the care of the grandparents he had never met. Children react to trauma in a variety of ways—regression, aggression, and withdrawal. Jack withdrew into himself. He didn’t speak, he didn’t smile, and he barely made eye contact. His grandparents tried to no avail to get him to talk about and start coping with that night. Jack remained mute. His grandparents decided to take a different approach and try Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), and called the Equine Partnership Program to schedule an appointment.
Jack worked with one of our therapy horses, Ben, for three months in silence until one, muddy Tuesday morning. One of our therapists was busy preparing for their session when Jack looked at her and casually asked, “Do you have a hoof pick? Ben’s feet are very muddy.” She was halfway down the barn aisle to get a hoof pick before we all realized what had just happened. He spoke. His first words in nearly a year since that night. It’s hard to put into words the emotions everyone felt as we heard his voice—timid, but hopeful – and a true testament to his time in the program.
After that, it was like the flood gates had opened. Jack had emerged from his cocoon and was ready to talk– about that night, about his feelings, and about how much he loved Ben. Today, Jack is in the top ten of his class, an incredible soccer player, and a very active member in his community. We are so proud of what Jack was able to work through and achieve and we will forever thank Ben for his role in Jack’s success.