Horse therapy helping healthcare workers with pandemic stress

Phoenix Equine Assisted Program is allowing healthcare workers to destress with a unique kind of therapy.

FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A unique kind of therapy using horses is helping healthcare workers cope with pandemic stress.

Nicole Ammons, a respiratory therapist from Newnan, drove all the way to Fort Valley for her second therapy session with her new best friend.

“Lilly is an 8-year-old Arabian mare,” Phoenix Equine CEO Barbara Adler said. “She can sense when someone is in trouble.”

Since they met, Lilly’s empathy has allowed her to understand Ammons’ stress over the pandemic.

“I think we’re all at a point now where I think we all have some sort of PTSD,” Ammons said. “And we’re just overloaded with stress.”

She describes her experiences in the pandemic like something out of a nightmare and says the therapy sessions with Lilly through the Phoenix Equine Assisted Program make it all go away.

“It lets me clear my mind,” she said. “I don’t have anything other than Lilly to focus on. Her movements and just not think about anything else for those 20 minutes. It’s great.”

Phoenix Equine Therapy is taking everything known about horse therapy and turning it backwards,. The program allows pandemic heroes to ride horses backwards as a part of a special therapy called Draper Sensory Method.

“There’s a specific rhythm that she has, so we want to capture that rhythm, your body becomes in sync with it,” Adler said. “That stops the stress. It stops the cortisol and the adrenalin and then the good hormones, like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, those come into the brain and balance the chemistry.”

Adler started this program three years ago and believes those on the front lines need it now more than ever.

“Our heroes that are out there fighting the COVID, keeping us alive, the guys that run into danger that live danger every day, that’s so stressful,” she said.

Adler says she’s had a 100% success rate with PTSD, depression, anxiety and several other mental stressors. She encourages anyone looking for a healthy alternative method for treating stress to saddle up.

If you’re a healthcare worker and need a break, Adler asks that you give her a call to schedule a free first session at (678) 588-4394.

Categories: COVID-19, Featured, Health, Medical, Peach County, WMGT