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Due to a $2,500 Founders Grant received through the Bryan Area Foundation, Sarah's Friends is pleased to announce a new partnership with Lily Creek Farms Therapeutic Riding Center. Survivors of crime in Williams County who are clients of Sarah's Friends can now be referred to Lily Creek Farms to receive therapeutic horseback riding.

This additional referral therapy program will be able to benefit five survivors in the first year with twelve weeks of therapeutic riding services with the goal to increase outputs each following year pending funding.

One in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking including a high percentage of psychological abuse according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Psychological abuse increases the trauma of physical and sexual abuse, and a number of studies have demonstrated that psychological abuse independently causes long-term damage to a victim's mental health. Victims of psychological abuse often experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideation, low self-esteem, and difficulty trusting others.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding has shown evidence-based efficacy in individuals with PTSD, depression, anxiety, conduct disorders, dissociative disorders, and other chronic mental illnesses. According to Dr. Laurie Sullivan-Sakeada, a Utah based Clinical Psychologist and leading practitioner of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), horses can provide survivors of violence with therapeutic and interactive tools to speed up the healing process substantially. Horses are prey animals; are hyper vigilant; and are constantly scanning their environment for potential danger. Survivors of violence, having experienced trauma, can relate, causing an immediate, unspoken connection between the horse and the survivor. Interacting with horses helps survivors explore their feelings, and work through communication challenges. Equine environments promote emotional growth and encourages confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of accomplishment. This new collaborative program will provide survivors of crime in Williams County with an additional avenue to receive therapeutic services in their journey of healing emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

To learn more about Lily Creek Farms, visit their website at www.

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