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Healing through horsemanship at Eagle Mount in Bozeman

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 20:01:48-04

Two large red barns, in a field surrounded by farmland, and the Eagle Mount Main Office. For the last 40 years, Eagle Mount has focused on helping those of all ages with disabilities and cancer.

From skiing to rafting—and even horseback riding. A large animal seems to have just as large of an impact.

Maggee Harrison is the Adaptive Horsemanship Program Manager for Eagle Mount and sees how barriers are brought down with these animals.

“A lot of our participants who have a hard time reading social cues all of a sudden get it and know they need to bring their energy down. As soon as they do, the horses will come down to that energy,” Harrison said.

Scared or over-excited are both cues that a horse can, and will, pick up on. To help horse and rider through nerves and excitement, students may have a "one-on-one" lesson. Through clear communication, body language, and understanding, leading and riding can be achieved.

“I rode him (Benny, the horse), and I took him outside—which is my favorite thing to do. riding and having fun,” Lucy Glynn, an Eagle Mount participant, said.

Glynn has been taking lessons at Eagle Mount for three years and has grown quite attached to her mount, "Benny".

“I enjoy brushing him, and riding outside,” Glynn said.

All of the horses involved in the program were hand-selected based on temperament and ability to perform tasks. They truly are like athletes; Harrison says they get "tuned up" as often as possible, so when the participants come they are ready to work.

“It’s a miracle because many of us are afraid of horses, but it’s an equalizer and it’s a joy,” she said.