Horses Healing Hearts, a unique equine-assisted program helping children who have been affected by family members with alcoholism and addiction, relies on its donated and borrowed horses to help children learn vital coping skills and heal emotionally.
Some of the horses used in the program lived full lives before their jobs as therapy horses, and their bodies show the wear and tear of their experiences. So, Chip Kreiling of TheraPlate Revolution decided to help the Wellington-based nonprofit and its equine partners by donating a TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platform for the horses, and another for the humans involved in the program. The results have been extraordinary.
Lizabeth Olszewski, HHH’s founder and executive director, used the TheraPlate therapy platform on a 19-year-old Hanoverian gelding that had been a dressage horse before he became part of the Horses Healing Hearts program. He has had issues over the past eight years maintaining his topline and hind end.
“Consequently, he has put a lot of stress and wear on his front hooves,” Olszewski said. “He started having some issues with heel soreness and bilateral intermittent lameness about three years ago. When I rode him five days a week, he was great, but when I would use him for therapy a few days in a row and not ride him, he was noticeably off up front.”
Olszewski believes that on the days she rode him, his blood would circulate, but when he was used for therapy only, the circulation was not sufficient. After standing the gelding on the TheraPlate platform only three times, Olszewski noticed improvement, thanks to the increase in circulation that the TheraPlate platform provides.
TheraPlate Revolution offers therapy platforms that improve fitness, relieve pain and provide healing therapy to both horses and their human teammates. The innovative therapy platforms use dynamic movement that can improve performance — simply by standing on the platform.
“I think it’s really great how the TheraPlate technology is fairly new and works so well,” Olszewski said.
Olszewski, a survivor of a childhood spent with alcoholic parents, said that the only place she felt safe and accepted while growing up was at the barn. Horses and mentors inspired her to make her own choices and to create a better life for herself.
“The concept of using horses and mentors to help children of alcoholics and addicts in a formal program had never been tried before, but I knew there were millions of children of alcoholics who needed help,” she said.
When she approached TheraPlate Revolution, Kreiling wanted to pay it forward by donating the therapy platforms. Olszewski said the donation will help keep the therapy horses healthier and more comfortable, which not only decreases veterinarian visits but also increases the children’s safety around them.
ABOVE: A Horses Healing Hearts therapy horse gets some love from program participants while using the TheraPlate.