Navajo Nation’s first Horse Therapy Center for Veterans

Navajo Nation’s first Horse Therapy Center for Veterans

Posted By Corinne Rice February 4th, 2018 Last Updated on: February 4th, 2018

Started by Shirleen Jumbo-Rintila and Becky Flowers, SJ-R Equine Ranch LLC promises to be more than just a place for Horses. SJ-R Equine Ranch will be the first Navajo Equine Farm and Garden therapy ranch for Navajo Veterans and their families, further hoping to extend their services to victims of domestic abuse and eventually those who struggle with Autism.

With their current sights currently set on therapy for Veterans, SJ-R Equine Ranch offers therapies for those who suffer from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and will promote health and coping techniques in the first ever center within 4 hours too much of the Navajo Nation veterans as well as it’s bordering towns.

For those who have not heard of Equine therapies, it is a field of therapy involving horses.

“This therapy practice differs from traditional therapy in that it combines therapeutic goals with an experiential process. The experiential aspect of EFMH specifically (working with the horses) offers clients the opportunity to receive immediate feedback about their emotions and actions from a being other than a human therapist.”

The client then builds trust with their horse, and can, in turn, open up about painful feelings free of judgment. Horses mirror human emotions and so respond to the emotions they receive from the clients who work with them. Equine Facilitated Mental Health (EFMH) is relatively new but has shown time and again it’s effectiveness.

So how can our Navajo Veterans benefit from an EFMH program such as the one offered by SJ-R Ranch?

Founder Shirleen Jumbo-Rintila states “The veterans deal with trust issues, boundaries, self-worth and self-respect, confidence, and many other things that civilians may not realize. The horses are able to expose these issues to the veterans in a direct yet non-threatening manner. Interacting with the horses also gives the veterans a chance to work on setting boundaries, earning another being’s trust and respect, and gain confidence.”

With the therapy center in it’s beginning stages, Rintila and Flowers have set up a YouCaring page to help with some of their startup costs. Please click the link below to learn more about how SJ-R Equine Ranch might be able to help a veteran you know, or to contact them about funding their program.


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About Corinne Rice

Corinne Rice (Mohawk/Lakota) has been a writer with powwows.com since 2014. She lives in the state of CA, and enjoys attending and photographing many of the Northern CA powwows and events. She owns her own photography business and is also a Fellow with Changemaker Initiative in partnership with Ashoka.

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