Peace Ranch Equine-Assisted Therapy Helps People Cope during COVID-19 Crisis
Peace Ranch is an experience with a tranquil feel that immediately overcomes you when you walk onto the grounds in Hoosier Valley, just outside Traverse City.
“We provide experiential therapy for people who have trauma, and we use horses in therapy, and that’s what makes it a little bit unique,” says Jackie Kaschel, the executive director and founder of Peace Ranch.
They provide trauma counseling and mental health services. They’re known for their horses, which provide a therapeutic approach known as equine-assisted counseling for people who might not be able to verbally express the trauma or stress, they’ve experienced.
The horses themselves have experienced their own traumas and are all rescues that have been rehabilitated. The irony is the horses are able to help humans reach their own rehabilitation.
“Peach Ranch is a sensory rich environment. That includes horses, which are very intuitive to work on the injured part of the brain, and it’s really effective,” says Kaschel.
It’s something Kaschel and her husband know all too well when they started Peace Ranch ten years ago.
“My husband and I adopted four children from the Grand Traverse area that had very severe trauma, and we tried to get help. We were told there really isn’t anything that helps. Medication doesn’t help this, you know, therapy talk therapy doesn’t help. So, we sold everything we had and we moved out to Hoosier Valley, and we just had this kind of crazy idea of maybe a more natural lifestyle with kind of the rhythm of animals and so forth, maybe that would help,” says Kaschel.
It eventually changed their life and would eventually do the same for others.
“What started out is the Crazy Horse thing has now become the cutting edge of neuroscience, for helping traumatized people not just children, but veterans, and all kinds of people that are victims of assault or serious disease, or have been in natural disasters,” says Kaschel.
Now a decade later, and a global pandemic hovering over our lives, Peace Ranch is providing a sense of relief for those in desperate need of its therapy.
“Peace Ranch is uniquely suited to help people that are in that place, and if you’re a person that has already had some trauma in their history, and even if it’s been kind of resolved, you might find that that’s all been ignited again,” says Kaschel.
Staff at the ranch have been able to help people feel safe and work toward building a strong sense of self.
“Certainly the pandemic, the nature of what we’re experiencing is there’s a lot of fear. There are a lot of unknowns and things are changing all the time. So, the therapy at Peace Ranch and the programs that we have are all geared toward helping that to settle down again, helping people to feel safe in their skin. Then, helping them to build confidence in the tools that they need to be in the world,” says Kaschel.
Peace Ranch has been working face to face with children in foster care and also veterans facing post-traumatic stress disorder throughout most of the COVID-19 crisis. Since April 6, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services authorized the face to face contact to enable people in need of the equine-therapy, have the opportunity to receive help.
Peace Ranch is a 501c3 and is not state or federally funded. If you would like to make an appointment with Peace Ranch or would like to make a donation click here.