How Horses Help Us Heal

How Horses Help Us Heal

How Horses Help Us Heal

Depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses are challenging for anyone to navigate, but they can be especially so for children and adolescents. At Grand River, we work to help youth recover, and this story, generously shared by the client's mom, highlights just how big of an impact a program like Propel can have on youth receiving mental health care:

"Emily* started her 12 weeks of horse therapy on June 12th this year," her mom wrote. "She has an amazing trainer, and she is absolutely in love with 'her' horse. Emily suffers from severe anxiety and depression. She takes medication and also attends weekly cognitive behavioural therapy sessions and has been doing both since May. Of course all of these factors make a big difference in how she feels, but I must say that the horse therapy is by FAR the biggest help in her life. When I bring her to her weekly lessons, I can literally see her anxiety and any sadness dissipate. Before we even leave the parking lot afterwards, she is already talking about her next session and what they are going to be doing. Further to this, she now has extra time onsite volunteering! In the last two days she has already put in six hours (I'm pretty sure if I let her, she would move into the barn with the horses).

"All this to say: THANK YOU!!!! When she is at the farm, she is the carefree little girl she was before all of the mental health issues started. I would recommend this program to anyone going through something similar and who loves animals."

Community involvement and creating positive social connections are critical for helping youth develop resilience and emotional wellness. The Propel  program connects children and youth receiving mental health care at Grand River Hospital with opportunities to engage in community programs where they can learn new skills and build healthy, rewarding relationships with others, all while regaining their confidence and self-esteem. It provides them with the chance to be challenged, supported and feel connected to their local community. To learn more, visit

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality

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