What Does Occupational Therapy with Horses Look Like?
Occupational therapy is always rooted in goals to improve overall engagement in life. Horses prove to be a unique tool that with proper application, can be used to engage sensory, neuromotor, emotional, and cognitive systems to promote functional outcomes. In other words, each patient will need the horse to be utilized in different ways to address their individual goals. This may look like riding the horse while doing a familiar activity, to brushing the horse and engaging in horse care activities. The application of the horse in therapy is as unique as the patients we serve.
Meet the Therapist
Kelsey Herman, OTD, OTR/L
Kelsey is the occupational therapist and she is excited to show Southwest Washington the value of pairing equine and occupational therapy! Kelsey has her Doctorate Degree in Occupational Therapy from Pacific University. She has experience with both pediatric and adult rehabilitation, with the majority of her experience in outpatient pediatrics. Kelsey is a lifelong equestrian who enjoys riding, training, and rehabilitating rescue horses as
well as teaching people about horses. She is thrilled for the opportunity to blend her expertise in equine and occupational therapy to improve the lives of her patients.
Our Partnership with Grace Therapeutic Horse Program
Grace Therapeutic Horse program is a non-profit organization established in 2007. The owners, Robin and Kris have used their horses to reach adults and children alike. They work with post-addiction teens and young adults, the sexually, emotionally, and physically abused, as well as fostering the love of horses in the community through community outreaches and open rides. Kelsey, owner of Healing Steps, met Robin and Kris as a volunteer in 2015 and has been a part of their program ever since. Opening Healing Steps and having a partnership at the Barn has been a dream since the day they met. They are thrilled to add Healing Steps and all occupational therapy has to offer at their barn, and Healing Steps is honored for the opportunity to use their beautiful space and horses as the clinic.