Olathe, Colo (KKCO) --- Typically when we think of horses, we immediately picture them racing for The Triple Crown or jumping for gold in The Olympics. But there's a lesser-known side of horsemanship that has nothing to do with medals or prizes.
Equine therapy helps people focus on making strides for a better quality of life.
Twelve years ago, Kathy and Bill Hamm started The Dream Catcher Therapy Center with private therapeutic riding and hippotherapy for their daughter who was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome.
They eventually opened the center up to the public and added a mental health program that helps patients work through issues by letting them guide and talk to the horses.
One of their patients, Amarah Vance, has been coming to Dream Catcher for over a year to work with her therapist on behavioral issues.
"We went from my boundaries and then we started on yelling and then pretty much and then today we started working on space," says Vance.
According to her mother, Vance has made significant strides since she began therapy.
But her mental health therapist, Christy Douglas, says that no matter how much training she or the other therapists have, the horses are the ones that do the real leg-work.
"The horses really know more about what's going on with the kids than we do so I can tell by how the horse responds to the child what's actually going on with the child," says Douglas. "With a horse it provides a really safe place for them to work through their problems."
Once a month, the center holds sessions for veterans who work with the horses on everything from PTSD to easing back into life as a civilian.
Dream Catcher is currently looking for a location for a new Mesa County center. For more information on how to donate and to know more about helping out at the therapy center, copy and past this link into your browser: www.dctc.org