Horses are effective therapeutic tools for a variety of mental and physical issues in children.

Unstable situation: Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society forced to close youth facility

Two-year lease of Stonehenge Farm barn about to expire

While the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society is celebrating its 29th year of operation, it’s a bittersweet anniversary for the organization.

Despite operating at capacity and maintaining a waiting list, the society will be closing their Stonehenge Farm facility at the end of the month, a facility which hosts their Stable Program — a way to teach children and youth how to manage their emotions, particularly those who struggle with anxiety, depression and mental health issues.

“We’re very sad. It will be a struggle, but we’ll figure out a way to make it work,” said Stable Program Manager Jane Buchanan.

The program began operating out of Stonehenge Farm, an adjacent barn to the society’s Comox VAlley Exhibition Grounds facility since 2012.

The property was a two-year ‘lease to purchase’ agreement and the society was not able to purchase the land and building, explained Buchanan.

“Our dream is to have a facility just for working with mental health. It’s definitely a different energy and different horses are needed for the program (than those in the main facility),” she added.

“Horses are prey animals and they are constantly reading for danger. You have to present a confident manner to feel safe, and they have the ability to provide biofeedback in real time; they have the ability to regulate emotions.”

Buchanan noted the program is able to guide students to practice mindfulness — being in the moment — how to regulate emotions and finding confidence within themselves.

“Children can mask how they are feeling; a beautiful smile on an eight-year-old can’t always tell you everything,” she said.

Izzy (who asked her last name not be used), a parent whose 14-year-old daughter uses the Stable Program, said it is an invaluable resource that helps many aspects of her daughter’s life.

“(The program) removes their anxieties. It gives them tools and makes connections that they can use outside of the program. She now has friends and goes to social events … it’s really impacted her life.”

Izzy said outside of the program, her daughter volunteers at the stable, which won’t be possible following the move.

“The physical work (shovelling) helps with the mental work. That’s not going to happen at the other barn; It will have an impact.”

She noted if the program — which she pays for out-of-pocket — was supported or connected through the school district and had financial backing, it would mostly likely remain open.

“It could also get the recognition it would need. There’s definitely a stigma attached, I think that’s what holds it back. It’s a shame; here’s a program that could help our youth. What are they going to do?”

Buchanan added the program will close for the summer and begin again with the start of the new school year in the fall.

To volunteer, or for more information on the CVTRS, visit www.cvtrs.com, e-mail cvtrs@telus.net or call 250-338-1968.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Big Beach Cleanup builds awareness of ocean debris impacts

First two cleanup days brought in 40 cubic yards of plastic and styrofoam

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Comox Valley medical cannabis business growing despite impending legalization

With nearly a month to go until new cannabis legalization laws come… Continue reading

Humpback whales visit Cape Lazo

Peter Hamilton with Lifeforce Ocean Friends snapped these photos of some humpback… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Officials: 3 killed in shooting at Maryland Rite Aid centre

FBI described the Aberdeen incident as an ‘active shooter situation’

The hunt for online herb: feds seek dope on hazy world of pot’s ‘cryptomarket’

In less than a month, Canada to be first industrialized country to legalize recreational marijuana

Despite protests, Russia’s anti-doping agency reinstated

On a 9-2 vote, the executive committee declared RUSADA as having satisfied conditions

Darwin Dzuba is running for council in Courtenay

Darwin Matthew Dzuba, born and raised in the Comox Valley, post-secondary educated… Continue reading

The longest week: Carolinas worn out by Florence

Frustration and sheer exhaustion are building as thousands of people wait to go home seven days after the storm began battering the coast.

Vancouver councillors move ahead with policy for duplexes on detached home lots

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle.”

Canada’s goal is to play in a medal game at World Cup in Spain

The 2014 women’s world basketball championships were a coming out party for Canada.

Most Read