After coping with PTSD as a child and working as a certified PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) therapist for two years, Kristi Huddleston took a big leap of faith and opened her own non-profit therapeutic center for kids with a variety of disabilities and disorders.
The Harmony Hope Stables combines music therapy and equine lessons to give kids a safe space to explore their emotions, cope with anxieties, and simply be themselves. The program is especially helpful for kids with Autism, ADHD, anxiety, history of abuse, or depression.
Kristi has found that children who participate in her programs have significantly improved self-esteem and awareness, learn how to regulate and manage their emotions better, and improve communication.
While she was coping with her own PTSD as a child, Kristi used this very treatment for herself and says, “If it weren’t for horses and music, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Angelique Scoboria has noticed a tremendous difference in her son, Gabriel since he started at Harmony Hopes Stables. Gabriel has high-functioning autism and is better able to calm himself down, converse with people, and concentrate in school, thanks to this therapy.
While traditional therapy works for a lot of people, equine and music therapy have added benefits. Kristi told MSN, “When children are in a more relaxed environment, compared to school or traditional therapy, they feel free to express more emotions,” which is why the program is so successful.
Kristi has dreams to build out the Harmony Hope Stables to provide even more services for kids. Right now, the organization relies heavily on donations to operate as well as to provide scholarships to students. But, they regularly hold fundraisers and events to help get the word out about the organization so they can continue to grow and help more and more kids.
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