Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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Without giving too much personal info...I am leaning towards, and looking for therapy horseback lessons for my two kids.  I live in the Rhinelander, WI. area and am hoping that there might be something close by me.  We are in a desperate situation, and I believe that this might be something that will help my children cope and heal.  Does anyone out there know of anyone that does this?  If so, will they (and can they) bill insurance companies?  Maybe it doesn't even need to be riding.  Perhaps just being around the horses and helping to clean and groom them might help.  Perhaps just being around horses that have had trouble in their lives might help my kids.

Meredith, I know of a place by Shiocton. It is called "Chaps" and it is very homy there. The woman that runs it is very nice, and I believe that insurance is involved with this kind of HELP/TREATMENT. The telephone number is 920-209-3633.  or here is their email address, if you are interested. chapsacademy@aol.com   Hope this works out for you... Good Luck

I think Western Connection in Rhinelander has a program that may work for you....and Dunroven, also in Rhinelander, may as well. Pine Ridge in Eagle River may also work.  And I can also tell you one place to steer clear of no matter what (not qualified or reputable horse people).

I forgot to mention that "Chaps" was on the University of Oshkosh site, and that is where I found it.. So, insurance would be in the project. It doesn't hurt to CHECK IT OUT...


Natures Edge Therapy Center is located in Rice Lake. Phone # (715) 859-6670. You can check them out at http://www.naturesedgetherapycenter.org.


Also be sure to check out NARHA.org they should have a listing of organizations that work with EFMHA doing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.  It's a great program, I work with a therapeutic riding facility while we don't do much EFMHA type therapies and do more hippotherapy and therapeutic riding we do work with juvenile offenders and the horses have done wonders for them.
Beth Schwarzhuber

I volunteer for a program that gives physical therapy on horse back. These kids are pretty severely disabled. Insurance does pay for their therapy. The program is called Stable Hands and they are located in the Merrill/Wausau area. The main contact is Diane at 715-359-6046. This is not exactly what you are looking for but you may get some more direction for her, or maybe some one else could use this information. It's my own way of sharing with the less fortunate so it's my therapy too!!

I would agree with Char and her recommendation of CHAPS near Shiocton.  A friend's daughter participated in their therapy program and has wonderful results.  She was suicidal and into cutting.  She had always loved horses and the therapy has given her so much self esteem.  My daughter has a horse of her own and even though I would not consider her riding a therapy session as my friend's daughter's actually was (with a MSW) she is developing a secure self concept independent of the trappings young girls run into these days.

By the way Char, are you at Blue Royal Stables?
Tricia - No. WI
Check out the Wisconsin State Horse Council. There are several websites listed on the Everything Equine links page. I know for certain that there was a therapy program trying to get up and running in Rhinelander. Western Connection Ranch would be a good place for a referral...if they don't have a program themselves. Good luck! http://www.wisconsinstatehorsecouncil.org

Thank you all so very much for your help and suggestions!  I have to try and stay as close to Rhinelander, WI. as I can...for time and monetary reasons.  I know that some places only will cater to physical disabilities...My kids are strictly emotional and psychological reasons, so will have to make sure that these places cater to that as well.

I know that kids have a tendency to react to animals in such a different way then they do humans.  I just want to see my kids heal emotionally and mentally...And it seems as though children respond and react in a more positive way with something like therapy lessons, or just being around abused animals and helping them.

Thank you so much again!
At all costs, steer clear of a place called Spirit Wind Ranch....used to be Amorous Acres, same people, different name, just trying to fool newcomers by changing the name.  Not reputable or knowledgable about horses, their care, or any kind of training.  They talk a good game, but I wouldn't let them take care of a Breyer horse, much less deal with my children. 

Check with Western Connection.


Chaps has 2 different programs going on on with NARHA (therapy for the disabled rider ie: physical and mental disabilities) and EGALA (emotional type issues)  from what I read you would need an EGALA type program, we were looking into that for our therapy program but do not have the funding or time to set that up yet.  EGALA has a website so it would not hurt to check that out.  Or contact Chaps and they may be able to point you in the right direction.  Janet Hagen is the lady that runs the EGALA part of Chaps, she also works for UW Oshkosh, a great lady, with tons of knowledge about the subject.  I'm sorry I don't know of any in that area, but I would check with them.

Lori W

Don't have any suggestions, just want to say, Meredith, that I think it's great that you are looking into this sort of program for the kids. Being around animals is so therapeutic and healing. Good luck.


Dawn, I think you are right, and it deals with children, teens, and women that have been ABUSED. Or women that have had bad divorces etc. But women also have a part with "Chaps"...

Laurie L.
To do EAC /EAP(equine assisted counseling or psychotherapy) yes, you need a place that is certified to do that specific type of work.  EAGALA is one such certifying organization, there is also EPONA, and the founder of EAGALA went on to create another organization, OK Corral.  EAGALA requires that each session have both the certified horse professional (certified by EAGALA, having gone to their trainings), and a licensed therapist who is ALSO certified by EAGALA.  The cost is generally $90 / hour and up, and sessions run 90 minutes.  It's not riding, it's therapy.  The chance of insurance covering it is rather slim - - the therapist has to be a certified MA provider if Badgercare or anything is used, and most private insurance companies have managed care ties, so unless the therapist is also a provider within the network that has your insurance, it will be a no-go.  Additionally, many equine assisted therapy programs simply will not bill insurance - - WAY too much paperwork and hassle for the amount that they can collect.  What many will do is have you pay in cash for each session, and will fill out any paperwork that you ask them to complete so that you can try to get reimbursed by your insurance company. 

EAC is an excellent tool for some people.  It is often used in conjunction with other mental health/addiction therapy.  Activities are geared (or should be!) to the individual family that comes for therapy.  EAC is NOT therapeutic riding whatsoever - - if it's certified through EAGALA, there is absolutely NO riding at all, and places that are ethical will not provide you with equine assisted therapy, and also riding lessons - -there should be a clear boundary between the two.

I hope that you do check out a couple of places.  Be sure to ask if they are certified or have been through training, remember that there should be 2 staff at each session, and if you want to try to get insurance to pay, they also need to be a licensed or certified provider (of mental health or addiction therapy) in Wisconsin.  If you pay cash, that last part won't make a difference.  Best of luck in your quest, and it's cool that you're interested in this form of psychotherapy. 

Thank you for your post Laurie. 
It is so important to check places out, because even at the level and in an area where you would think people know what they are doing and should be reputable...well.  I have to say I am absolutely shocked that the people mentioned above by "concerned" are getting into or are into any type of therapy with horses, or whatever it is that they are trying to do now.  Speechless.  I also would not let them care for any one of my Breyer horses, nor get anywhere near any family member of mine. 

Good luck on your search Meredith, I wish you all well. 

Meredith, whenever you begin to CHECK these places out, I would jot down all of the questions that pop into your head, cuz usually, it can be a STRAIN just trying to remember everything that you NEED to know, and the way your questions are answered. I also think if it is possible, try and POP into a place and just look around, by that, WHAT YOU SEE is what you get. Sometimes, they can SUGAR COAT it if they know you are coming. Sounds SNEAKY but if YOU are the involved person, it makes good sense to be the person who finds it out DIRECTLY, than listening to alot of others opinions. There are LEGAL issues, INSURANCE issues, and very PERSONAL issues... YOU...!!! just my opinion of course.. Good luck!

Thanks to certain suggestions and a website that was posted on this thread, I will be checking out three different places here in Rhinelander.  I know that (in the past) Badgercare - which my kids are under - would pay for this type of therapy if it were recommended by the child's counselor.  I just need to find a counselor that feels this type of therapy would work for my kids.  I KNOW that it would, but Badgercare won't take my word for it.

If worse comes to worse, perhaps one of these places would let me work for the therapy lessons.  I'd do anything, as I just know in my heart that this is exactly what my son and daughter need.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

And thanks "concerned" for the heads up on a certain stables.  The last thing I need is for someone to do more damage than has already been done.
Laurie L.

Glad that Badgercare will pay for equine assisted therapy - - but do remember to ask if the counselor is licensed (you should be able to see his/her license), and if their "clinic" is licensed.  Only licensed clinics can collect 3rd party (insurance or MA/Badgercare) payments lawfully in Wisconsin.  And the counselor should have a separate certification through whatever equine assisted therapy model they are using.  Best to you - -

Sherri N.

Best of luck with this endeavor, Meredith.  I feel for you and the emotional scars of your kids.  I hope healing occurs and you can all move forward, leaving sadness and guilt feelings behind.  Blessings.

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