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PCI Ranch Equine Therapy

Posted by Woodlands Traveler on February 25, 2012 in Non Profit |

Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch


Worthy of a Second Look

We first told you about Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch (PCI) about a year and a half ago. In that time, some amazing changes have taken place out at the ranch – and many more are in the works. The one thing that hasn’t changed and won’t change is PCI’s dedication to help kids from all walks of life. And they do that the best way they know how – with their horses.

Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch is growing at a steady rate and continues to expand on the services they can provide to children in need. The Ranch has partnered with Montgomery County Youth Services (MCYS) to offer their newest program, Heart. Heart is a special program designed to help at-risk children. These children may be experiencing trouble at home or depression, maybe they ran away from home or perhaps through no fault of their own face homelessness. It’s something many of us don’t often think about, yet we were informed that there are actually camps of homeless children living right here in The Woodlands. One of the not-so-pretty facts about The Woodlands.

Panther Creek Ranch Needs your help

In addition to the children in the MCYS program, there are also more than 5,000 special needs children currently enrolled in the Conroe Independent School District; the district which currently services the majority of children in The Woodlands. It is from among these children that counselors may refer candidates to PCI Ranch for their Equine Assisted Mental and Behavioral Health Therapy. In these one-on-one sessions, sometimes the kids are riding, sometimes they’re grooming, sometimes they’re simply helping out with the tack or clean-up. But they’re always accompanied by a professional therapist who listens, interacts, watches and counsels these kids through their struggles. These instructors are volunteers, as our the various assistants helping with the sessions.

These unique therapy methods are producing many measurable results. Kids who may be living with limited social interaction can find that they are able to open up and speak what is on their mind, without fear of rejection or judgement – because the non-judgemental horses are there and they are a constant. Whether they are standing still or in motion, many horses behave the same way and they walk the same way at every session. The rhythm of the walking is always consistent and the children can tune in on this allowing them to relax and open up.

Horses also have a keen intelligence, and are extremely sensitive to human emotion. Even when the children say little or nothing, the horses are generally reflective of the child’s emotional state, giving cues to the therapist as to what’s going on with the child and providing insight as to which direction to go with their therapy.

Equine Therapy Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch

Each week over 70 volunteers, four certified equine therapy instructors and the mental health therapist work with 45 special needs kids, 20 at–risk teens and six families. All of the programs are very labor intensive, each requiring an instructor or therapist and as many as three volunteers for each client and horse. The outcomes from these specialized programs are frequently life changing; children that could not speak their first words learn to do so, kids that could not walk, take steps towards learning how to put one foot in front of the other, and those that have lost hope due to depression or abuse learn to overcome their demons. In combination with standard support resources, the Equine therapy results at Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch are truly inspiring.

Despite that these methods are tried and true they aren’t widely known so PCI operates on limited public funding, occasional insurance reimbursements and donations to keep this going for then next child and the one after that. That being said, Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch runs almost entirely on donations, financial, physical and material. And it is by those donations that the needs of the Ranch continue to be met. At it’s present state, the Ranch has ten working horses, but needs to retire two of them based on their age and ability. Since opening in 2008, the Ranch has yet to own a horse barn. The planned building will house the horses protecting them from the elements and providing safety. Additionally, because the Ranch does not have a covered arena, anytime there is inclimate weather or the fall/winter seasons when the days grow short, therapy sessions are occasionally rescheduled or sometimes cancelled. For some of the children the Ranch helps each week, a disruption in routine can cause setbacks that are difficult to overcome. It’s because of this that a covered arena with lighting would go a long way in aiding the amount of therapy sessions PCI Ranch can offer. The barn is a most desirable goal, providing a secure and safe place to stable the horses, PCI Ranch can increase the number of horses available for therapy while rotating the horses between sessions thereby providing a wider base of contact per child.

Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch Therapy with Horses

As the expression goes, you get what you give and it’s obvious Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch gives a whole lot of good – because good things are coming back to the Ranch. This winter they have been able to break ground for the new barn, and where the offices and family center will eventually be constructed. Currently, the preparation of the land is being completed with donated hours of service, using a bulldozer and track hoe donated by Mustang Caterpillar. It is the hope of founder David Darnall that come this Spring, group work on the buildings could get underway, based on funding and volunteer base. With a little luck, maybe come April they’ll be able to host a good old fashioned barn raising!

So what can you do to help? You can make cash donations through PayPal. Riding helmets and any other donations of grain/feed, tack or volunteer work are greatly appreciated; just give them a call and see what you can do to help! Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch is a 501(c)3 nonprofit establishment. Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch is located at 25902 Glen Loch Drive, just outside of the Village of Panther Creek. If you’d like to know more about Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch, you can visit their website, or better yet, call them at 713 302-3640 or drop them a line and arrange to come out to the ranch and see for yourself all the goodness they can accomplish.

Related: Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch Our first visit
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