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Community Spotlight: Rocky Hill Stables & the HALT Foundation

Rockingham County non-profit works to help people through Equine-assisted psychotherapy
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 10:24 AM EDT
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LINVILLE, Va. (WHSV) - On top of beautiful hills in Linville are horse stables filled with animals whose purpose is to help people. Whether it’s dealing with serious trauma or finding ways to cope with other issues, the folks at Rocky Hill Stables are looking to help anyone who needs it.

“The horses we use in Equine-therapy, many of them have their own story,” says Barbara Robbins, President of the HALT (Horse Assisted Learning and Therapy) Foundation. “What’s interesting to me, is how oftentimes the horses’ story has a connection to what the client is dealing with.”

She says horses tend to mirror those who lead them and when they sense you’re anxious, afraid, or just need a friend, the animals are there to help.

“Horses are herd dynamic,” said Robbins. “Because of that, they’re always asking the question, ‘are you going to help keep me safe, are you going to be my leader, am I going to be your leader?’ They’re looking to us for these interactions.”

At Rocky Hill Stables in Rockingham County, Equine-assisted therapy clients have the chance to do just that.

“A particular horse might stand out to them as somebody they want to spend more time with, or a horse might pick them,” said Robbins.

For children having trouble with school, people dealing with trauma or anxiety, or anyone who just needs a break from it all, with Equine-assisted psychotherapy, you can find a friend who’s always there.

“It’s helpful for us from a therapeutic standpoint, particularly for clients who find it difficult to express emotion, the horses will often mimic emotion,” said Robbins. “It provides feedback for us.”

Over the course of the pandemic, Barbara founded the HALT Foundation. It helps provide funding for people seeking this type of therapy, to help with financial support. The monetary support can get you in the stall and in a new state of mind.

“Just the activity of brushing horses, grooming horses, being outside, taking in this beautiful scenery is a great offset for anxiety and it helps people get to a more relaxed state,” said Robbins.

She adds if you’re looking for a new kind of therapy, this could be for you. For more information, visit http://www.rockyhillstables.com/.

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