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I hope you are all enjoying the March session of ELP! I think we have seen great progress with many of our kiddos. I see our little ones starting to push some boundaries and test a bit. Our teen group challenged us for the first few weeks, but I think things fell into place on Monday and the documentary is going to be amazing!
You guys are doing a great job with data collection. I know it is hard, but it really is the way to show the insurance companies and funders that what we are doing works. We will become Medicaid providers as of the May session, which may change a few things. For the most part we already take all the data in information they will need. It is exciting- it should help with funding for a lot of our kids.
Thank you for being on top of the sign in-sign out. As we get more organized and progress we will add and subtract protocol. We will start monitoring who picks kids up in the May session and each kid will have a list of who is allowed to pick them up. We will also be doing a communication log starting in May. I am not sure what that will look like yet, but we will go over it prior to the May session starting.
We have 2 kids being paid for by the county and one of them is court ordered. All steps forward to the counties recognizing that kids are getting so much from this and that it is worth funding!
We are going to start a weekly mentor training. It will be every from 12:45-1:30. We will role play and work on various scenarios as well as go over questions you guys have. Monday night mentors-you are welcome at the Saturday training. If we need to add a training on Mondays we will look into that. Let me know. That training will start this Saturday!
May session sign ups… it is that time again to sign up for the next session. If you are not continuing, please, please please try to find someone to take your place. The Teen group will be May 3rd, 10th, 17th, 27th, June7th and 14th. The Preteen group will be May 8th, 15th, 22nd, June 5th, 12th, 19th. We will be off the weekend of Memorial Day (May 29th and 31st). Let me know by April 10th if you are returning or who is replacing you. We will have a New Mentor Training on May 1st.
We are going to add ELP Volunteer Hours. Right now the Teen group comes and works from 3-5. It has been a challenge but we have worked most of the kinks out. A lot of the kids have expressed interest in volunteering, but they can’t come whenever they want and we can’t offer supervision throughout the week. So, we will continue the Teen Volunteer Hours on Mondays from 3-5. Typically this group cleans stalls and then plays a game. We will be adding a second work task as they can handle it. The Pre-Teen Volunteer Hours will either be on Saturdays following ELP or on Sundays. Are any of you interested in supervising the kids? The pre-teens would be dusting the arena, washing buckets, etc. There would be little horse involvement to keep the need for supervision ratio down. If you are interested talk to me.
We will also be having an ELP Summer CAMP!!! Summer Camp will be the week of June 14 to 18. It will be between 5 and 6 hours a day with a mix of equine activities, games, hiking and possible field trip. We are looking volunteers who can help out with the kiddos. If interested, talk to me.
Finally- We need to do a Mentor Melting Pot Night. Coordinating 20 mentors and 6 facilitators calendars is insanity, add on top the Colorado weather… So April 12th at 8:00. Email me if you are going to attend so we can make a reservation.
I can’t thank you all enough for what you are doing for these kids and what you have done for me. Starting this program is an amazing experience and has helped me to settle into my new home.
Maura Stack-Oden, MA, BCABA
Zuma’s Rescue Ranch
It seems our SYSTEMS today, all of them are symptom based, which we all know treating the symptom of anything will never end the cause of the symptom. No this is not a riddle it is fact and a sad fact at that.
Here are some examples that we at Zuma’s face every day.
Symptom: Child abuse and neglect
Remove child from home, diagnose child as if child is cause of abuse and neglect, medicate child, mandate that parents provide better living environment for child. re-evaluate situation with no family counseling or intervention.
Treat the symptom; neglected child… not the cause; bad parenting. Less than 10% success rate.
Begin court mandated family experiential learning and quine assisted learning along with individual child behavior modification. Have paid facilitators move into family home to keep child safe.
If a family member poses real danger, have home under 24 hour police surveillance.
Work with the family not just the child mend the entire family. Less cost involved and less trauma to the child.Removing a child from his or her family is far too traumatic.
Perceived un-wanted horses population
System Solution; Horse Slaughter Plants in US or Horses in the wild rounded up into holding pens
Develop breeding licensing with fees high enough to cover the administration cost
Mandate all horses be registered with the state, create a medical horse history for each horse
Charge all horse owners and End of life Tax on all horses, this annual tax held by the state will follow the horse for its life time and be available to end the horses life humanely.
Mandate licensing of all stallions charge high fees for breeding stallions
Create a use tax for everything horse, this tax will be a state tax held to develop a humane end of life solutions for horses
Dart wild horse herd for birth control every three years manage the herd size to the land set aside for them.
As you see we at Zuma’s are cause based solution system- VS – the current system of treating symptoms
Given enough time our cause based system will cure the cause and there will be no more symptoms
Zuma’s Experiential Learning Kids ~ Straight from the mouth of a child.
Why I like horses:
“They are really big animals. They are amazing. In my heart they are sacred. Like the sacred dog.” (reference to the book, “The Gift of the Sacred Dog” that we both love)
What I do at Zuma’s:
“I’m learning how hard it is to be devoted to something. I have commited to this. And it is painful. It is painful to cough up $4. But I did it. It is painful to scoop poop, but I did it. It is painful to get itchy eyes.”
What do you get from Zuma’s:
“In the evening I get to talk to my mentor in the warm room. I like talking to people – 1 on 1, not in big groups – and I don’t get that a lot.
My goal is to ride. My hope is I volunteer enough here that they’ll see I’m truly committed. I’m not just here to make a quick buck. It may not happen until I’m 19 and I’m finally on my own. But maybe one day I’ll have a job and I’ll be able to have my own horse. Or sponsor one. There are tons of possibilities with this place.”
This is why what we do at Zuma’s works! Support our mission, Donate Today
Zuma’s Recuse Ranch, Denver University’s Phil Tedschi and Felecia Trembly from the Experiential Learning Center at Zuma’s will be guests on the Colorado and Company Show March 4th from 10:00-11:00 am Please Tune in.
The show’s host, Denise Plant will interview the trio about the exciting new things happening with Zuma’s Rescue Ranch.
Big Thanks to Sue Bury-Oldham for opening the door for Zuma’s to get a spot on the show!
By Michael Wren & Amanda Davis
Meet Josh and Joey. Can you tell which one is wearing the mask?
Joey is the 9 year old rescue Arab cross and Josh is the young man wearing the mask.
Both feel the need for protective masks due to some challenging times in their lives.
Joey arrived at Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in August 2009, a survivor from the 3-Strikes Ranch seizure in Alliance, NE, he was one of the lucky ones, over 100 horses died before authorities arrived to seize the ranch (http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2009/04/greener_pastures_ahead_for_rescued_nebraska_horses_042809.html). To date Zuma’s has made space for 10 3-Strikes horses, the largest animal neglect case the state of Nebraska has ever seen.
Josh is a 13 year old foster child who loves spending time at Zuma’s and has a special relationship with the horses and staff. Josh was recently featured on CBS Denver Wednesday’s child http://cbs4denver.com/wednesdayschild sharing with viewers his skateboarding skills.
By working together, Joey and Josh learn the skills they both need to be successful, and also develop feelings of love and trust. Joey is learning to adapt to an indoor arena through a variety of techniques that help him feel safe in a new environment. Josh is learning to interact and have fun with horses, which translates into a more trusting relationship with the people in his life. One of the many stories of healing brought to you by Zuma’s Rescue Ranch.
Photo courtesy of Michael Wren
Taken during an afternoon with Zuma’s After School Program, the child and mentor worked together to push the wheel barrel up the hill.
The goals of the program are to enhance identity development, increase self-confidence and build on coping skills. It includes therapeutic, educational, and recreational activities with rescued horses. The program focuses on increasing resiliency through the creation of a trusting bond with a rescued horse.
Darcie Kelly can learn a lot about people by the way they interact with her horses.
A longtime horse person, Kelly, 38, decided in recent years to earn her master’s degree in social work. Last summer, she started a business on Green Meadow Drive that uses horses to help with the therapy process.
Fresh Steps EAP (equine assisted psychotherapy) offers treatment through working with horses on the ground as well as through riding. The year-round business has both indoor and outdoor riding rings.
While she can work with adults, Kelly, 38, said most of her work is with children and families. Attention deficit disorder, reactive attachment and post-traumatic stress disorder are some of the illnesses Kelly diagnoses and treats through equine assisted therapy.
“It may be kids that are having difficulty adjusting, or they may have some long-term learning disabilities that are getting in the way of their functioning, and you can see it in their behavior,” she said.
She takes referals from AWARE, the Center for Mental Health and other case management agencies in addition to people who contact her directly.
Kelly’s practice emphasizes guidelines laid out by EAGALA – the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. The sessions aren’t necessarily about learning horsemanship, although that can become part of the process. But the treatment isn’t about learning how to ride. It’s more about watching how people intereact with the animals and how they interpret the animals’ interactions with each other.
“What we’re doing is, one, allowing someone to get comfortable with the idea of being around these huge animals,” Kelly said. “And two, the books say you’ll approach horses in the same way you’ll approach life.”
And watching people interact with the horses can be more revealing than having them give Kelly the answers they think she wants to hear.
Another licensing organization, the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), focuses more on riding and horsemanship, and Kelly said Fresh Steps will offer NAHRA programing as well. But her focus since opening last August has been on EAGALA.
Early sessions with a client might involve nothing more than watching a pair of horses, and asking the client to describe what the horses are doing and how they’re feeling. After some time, the sessions might entail more intensive, problem-solving activities, like catching and haltering a horse, or convincing a horse to jump over a small barrier.
All the while, Kelly observes, and can learn more about a client’s behavior from one equestrian session, she said, than she often can with conventional verbal therapy.
“You get at things so quickly. It is considered a brief therapy for that reason,” Kelly said. “(As a therapist,) you learn what to notice and how to address it without becoming part of the session. We are there to create a safe environment for them to process.”
Craig Struble, a licensed addiction counselor who’s interning for his master’s in social work, said the challenge of relating to the animal can lay bare a person’s emotional strengths and weaknesses.
“You’re always drawing that stuff out through using the horses,” he said. “When there is discussion, it’s about, ‘What are you experiencing through the horse?’ We stay away from the ‘f’ word – feelings.”
Kelly said horses make ideal animals to work with because they’re big, they can frighten easily and they aren’t quickly convinced to do things they don’t want to do. Horses are protective of their lives, and even the simple tasks can frustrate the clients at first.
“It’s not a feel-good process,” Kelly said. “It is very difficult emotional work. There are times a client will leave here somewhat raw, somewhat hurt.”
But, Kelly said, the process does work, and often much faster than traditional therapy.
“We’ve had clients on the verge of getting kicked out of school, and we’ve worked with them, and they’re doing much better.”
Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring stories from children who have participated in Zuma’s Wellness with Horses Program. These children were asked “What the Horses Mean to Me.” Their responses are clear examples of why Zuma’s believes in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and is committed to the success of our Wellness with Horses Program.
“Until I came to the foster care system, I thought that horses were just animals that you could use for transportation. But now, I’ve realized that they are loving and caring animals that understand so much about me and others.
Sometimes, when I am feeling down, I go to a horse and they come up to me and let me pet them and groom them. This lets me know that there is someone who is always there for me. Horses are just like the friend I have always wanted because I can trust them and they are always there for me. They understand me more than anyone else does.
Horses have changed my life because I can compare my life experiences with the horses. Their behaviors are very similar to us humans and they interact with us easily. I think that everyone should have a day with a horse to compare and interact with the horse and learn that horses can be very helpful to their experience.”