Organization uses horses as alternative therapy

Organization uses horses as alternative therapy

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — At Fusion Life and Leadership, they’re teaching much more than how to harness and trot.

“I’ve been working with Powder, and she also has a breathing thing, so she can’t be in the barn too long. And I also have that, so I can build her confidence and she can build mine,” Evelyn Keltgen.

Evelyn Keltgen was diagnosed at a young age with pulmonary hypertension, which affects her lungs and heart.

Since age five, she's used horses as an outlet to work on anxiety and social skills.

“It was kind of the one thing where she had a lot of confidence, because she had a lot of anxiety with all of her medical stuff,” Evelyn’s mom, Melissa Keltgen, said. “And she really had an interest in horses, so we started her in horseback lessons when she was five. So there were these big horses and this little girl, and she was always so brave and never fearful of the horse.”

Guides lead clients through exercises with horses Powder and Casanova, then help them translate those lessons to their own lives.

“I’m less afraid of needles, because I used to be really afraid of them,” Evelyn said.

“And part of what has helped is she worked with Powder on desensitizing him to a plastic bag,” Melissa said.

And guides say anybody can benefit from the therapy.

“I think it just brings a different element to therapy. I think it works hand-in-hand with one-on-one intensive therapy or group support. There really isn’t anything that it doesn’t work well for,” said Fusion Life and Leadership member Susan Reiter said.

It sometimes confronts things that you didn't realize you hadn't worked through or identifies things that you didn't even know existed."

All year round, Fusion brings in clients with physical and mental illnesses, chemical dependencies and even companies to work on team work skills.

Evelyn says even if you're nervous or apprehensive, you should try it out.

You can learn more about Fusion Life and Leadership by visiting their Facebook page.

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