Healing power of horses — Free children’s event in Grand Junction to feature donkey, horses, activities | PostIndependent.com

Healing power of horses — Free children’s event in Grand Junction to feature donkey, horses, activities

Sharon Sullivan
Courtesy Photo
Staff Photo |


WHAT: “ Helping Hands, Hearts, and Hooves”

WHERE: Western Slope Center for Children, 259 Grand Ave.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat., June 1

COST: Free

INFO: 970-245-3788 or wscchildren.org

Kids don’t touch nature like they used to, said Melissa Jefferson, co-owner of a counseling practice that uses horses to facilitate healing.

On Saturday, June 1, Western Slope Center for Children, along with Inside Lead Counseling and Consulting, is hosting a free event for all children from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 259 Grand Ave.

“Helping Hands, Heart, and Hooves” will provide an array of activities for children including games, decorating horseshoes, painting and petting animals.

Jefferson, co-owner along with Kelly Bowen of Inside Lead, an equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy practice, will bring one or two of their horses, plus a therapy donkey, that Bowen said is “just a hoot, he’s absolutely adorable.”

The event is to raise awareness of Western Slope Center for Children (WSCC), a nonprofit organization that serves children and families who have suffered sexual abuse.

Jefferson said she and Bowen were moved to work with the organization after learning about its work two years ago.

“Some of our kids have worked with their horses,” WSCC counselor Joan Mulleady said. “What we’ve found is animals, horses, have a powerful way of connecting with kids, and people in general, for helping them heal, and learn about themselves.”

Mulleady remembered former clients — four young teenage girls who worked with Jefferson and Bowen and their horses for the first time a couple of years ago.

“It was an amazing, powerful experience. It was very healing,” Mulleady said.

Inside Lead and their horses have worked with clients at Hilltop Community Resources, Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado and the Women’s Business Alliance in Montrose.

Bowen is a licensed clinical social worker, and Jefferson has a degree in psychology and 30 years experience with horses. The two women met at a training of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association where Jefferson said she learned about this particular mode of therapy.

“Horses help these kids heal,” Jefferson said. “This type of work brings results quicker than traditional talk therapy.”

The free event is for all children, and to raise awareness about Western Slope Center for Children.

For more information about Inside Lead Counseling & Consulting, located at 1452 N 1/2 Road in Loma, call 970-778-8306 or visit insideleadcounseling.com.

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