By Ann Taylor, Equine Specialist at The Meadows
Sundance is a 32 year old Quarter Horse Gelding. He has worked in our Equine Therapy program since he was 10 years old.
In his more than 20 years of faithful service, he has shown that he truly has an extraordinary gift for therapy. This unassuming little red colored horse spends most of his days in the barn at our Rio campus. He keeps all of the horses and Equine staff on schedule with loud, animated reminders at breakfast and dinner times. Schedule and routine is something that Sundance finds great comfort in, and has no problem reminding us if we are a few minutes late with his meals.
Every day at 10:30 a.m. on the dot, he can be found playing with the other horses over the fence. Then, he naps in the warm quiet Arizona afternoons. For Sundance, semi-retirement is a life of carefree routine.
You could practically set your watch by his schedule.
Due to his advanced age — 93 in horse years — Sundance only works with clients on ground activities.
However, there is a part of Sundance that shines just as bright as his name: his ability to read a person.
Horses, in general, are professionals at reading people; they are second to none when it comes to knowing what is going on with us. They can read our intentions with extraordinary precision.
When it comes to Sundance, though, his gifts take that talent a step further. He can see the ways in which a person is strong and the things they need to work on. He takes a deliberate approach with every individual or group by presenting himself in ways that will meet each person’s need that day. He will purposely challenge a person’s weak areas or present himself with what could only be identified as compassion and love when someone needs to connect with those weaker places.
The discussion as to whether or not a horse has “feelings” is as timeless as the horse itself. Of course, we can’t say for certain that they do, but there is no doubt when Sundance meets someone, something beautiful happens.
Equine Therapy at The Meadows
The Meadows is one of the few treatment centers in Arizona that uses Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) to lead patients to healing and recovery. As a part of our commitment to holistic and innovative therapeutic tools, Equine Therapy provides a therapeutic experience unlike any other offered at The Meadows. Through interactions between patients and horses, patients learn new ways of dealing with trauma, addictions and relationships. Trained equine specialists use the interactions to illustrate the relationship patterns patients exhibit with people in their lives. Equine Therapy is often noted as a highlight of the treatment program. To learn more about this effective and popular program, contact The Meadows at 800-244-4949.