Ben (name changed) was referred to the Reins for Life Equine Therapy program by the Wayne County Juvenile Court, relating to a pending case for unruliness and domestic violence. He has a history of anger problems and has often become aggressive and violent. He admitted he has a poor relationship with his father and often has problems with other family members. Ben was removed from his home by Children's Services and is now living with a foster family.
Ben participated in the Reins for Life Equine program twice in 2009. He has a strong interest in animals and horses, and did so well that he wanted to participate in the eight-week program a second time. The instructor identified that he needed to work on anger and communication, and she stressed these topics as Ben progressed through the program.
Ben realized that his anger and frustration could be sensed by his horse, and learned to manage and control his anger. He said that he needed to be aware of his anger so that "his horse didn't become stressed or frustrated."
Ben also learned the importance of accountability and responsibility. He said, "I'm responsible for my horse and making sure that my horse and other riders don't get hurt. I'm also responsible for grooming and caring for my horse's needs before and after riding."
Most importantly, Ben has been able to carry these lessons with him and apply them in his personal life with positive changes. He has been more cooperative in his foster home and hasn't had any explosive anger outburst. Ben's foster mother reported that he has responded positively to re-direction when he behaves poorly, and has accepted punishment for poor behavior without becoming angry.
Ben has also done much better at school. Last school year, he was in a more restrictive setting due to his behavior, but this year, he is in main stream classes and is excelling.
For more information, contact Keith Waggoner, Your Human Resource Center, 330-264-9597.