Spotlight for our Merkel Farm crew! Kudos to site manager, April Odendahl, OT/L, and therapy coordinator, Natalie Cerchio, for all they do to promote quality therapy and community outreach for our team, clients, and respective families! We love what we do and the people we work with. Can you tell?
Horsepower helps affect change in Bowie and beyond
(unabridged article from the Bowie Blade-News)
Man’s best friend, a dog? Maybe.
The staff at Unbridled Rehabilitation Services believes horses aren’t far behind.
“They are very emphatic, compassionate — and sassy,” said co-founder of Unbridled Rehabilitation, Alysa Simms.
Founded in 2015, Unbridled Rehabilitation Services uses horses to provide therapy to their clients who range from young children to senior citizens.
Unbridled Rehabilitation held a training event for local volunteers at Merkel Farm in Bowie, June 13.
Simms said Unbridled Rehabilitation Services co-founder Katie Roe was one of her students at Towson University. Six months after graduating, Simms said Roe approached her with a business proposition.
Three years later, URS is treating nearly 50 clients, Simms said.
Unbridled Rehabilitation utilizes hippotherapy and equine assisted therapy.
“Hippotherapy really targets the movement of the horse,” Simms said. “There’s also equine-assisted therapy, which allows you to look at it from the mental health component.”
As URS was setting up signs and hanging an American flag across the barn doors, a loud wave of rumbles came from out of the tree line.
Jose Real led the 40-1 chapter of the Combat Military Association (CVMA) down a dirt path running parallel with the horizon. Dust and pebbles kicked up into the air as they neared, the hum from their engines vibrating through the ground.
The CVMA provides support and resources to combat veterans and other members of the military.
Real, one of the many members of the 40-1 chapter of the CVMA, said their association helps former combat veterans find forms of therapy that are alternative to medicine.
“Places like this helped me get reintegrated into normality,” said Real.
Real said the 40-1 chapter focuses on suicide prevention in the veteran community.
The CVMA hosts an annual Ride To Zero event every September, in conjunction with the University of Utah’s National Center for Veteran Studies. The CVMA will host its second Ride To Zero event, Sept. 22. All proceeds from the event will go to the National Center for Veteran Studies.
Given the amount of attention each client needs while interacting with the horses, Simms said Unbridled Rehabilitation often leans on volunteers and student interns for extra hands.
For younger clients who may deal with a learning disability, equine-assisted therapy provides a less-stressful way of developing life skills.
“Horses can be mirrors,” Simms said.
Roe said horses provide children with legitimate relationship experience because they respond to humans on an emotional level.