LE CENTER, Minn. (KEYC) - Horses at His Haven Ranch are helping people find healing in their everyday lives.
Kyle, an 11-year-old child, experienced a very traumatic past. His guardian Debra Kunst said at that time, he was shy and scared to show his face. However, since joining the riding program, he has changed for the better.
“I got legal custody of him, he had significant trauma, and so I was awarded legal custody," said Kunst.
"We started counseling when he four and a half years old.”
Kyle was calm during the interview, but as soon as he got to the horses, his face lit up.
“[I love horseback riding] because I get to saddle up the horses and groom it," said Kyle.
Kunst said riding the horses builds confidence for the riders and helps with so much more.
“You used to hide your face, you didn’t like people looking at him or watching him eat, or anything like that, and that’s really improved hasn’t it," Kunst said to Kyle.
Program Director Laurie Baer helps at risk youth, veterans with PTSD, and others struggling with illnesses and anxiety.
“We love people, we’re here ultimately because we love God, and we’re here because we know horses help," said Baer.
The horses help riders to become comfortable and in control, all while helping them to feel loved. Baer said the gentle giants have opened her eyes to new ways of life.
“Winston Churchill, I can’t replace his words cause he just said it best, there’s just something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man, and I’ve experienced that," said Baer.
Baer, a devoted Christian, grew up in a very rough situation, but was able to connect with horses. Through work with horses and her faith, she found healing, and now she’s paying it forward.
“We make our program financially barrier free, so out of 200 and something kiddos that we have registered right now, only about six have county waiver funding," said Baer.
"To be able to be here, the rest would have fallen through the cracks.”
The ranch relies on donations, and is hoping to install much-needed renovations to their site.