Probation Agency offers equine-assisted psychotherapy to youth

OXNARD, Calif. – In April 2017, the Ventura County Probation Agency and Ventura County Behavioral Health began partnering with Reins of HOPE (Human Opportunity Partnering with Equines) to provide equine-assisted psychotherapy to youth incarcerated at the Juvenile Facilities in Oxnard.

The goal of Reins of HOPE is to empower youth to communicate better, improve their problem-solving skills, build confidence and trust in themselves and their relationships with others, and to decrease mental health issues. Licensed therapists from Reins of HOPE transport two mini-horses to the Juvenile Facilities for therapeutic sessions with youth. Reins of HOPE offers a unique experiential form of therapy.

“What makes this therapy so unique is that it is designed to empower, not label participants as victims, but rather give youth the tools to heal themselves,” said Laurie Leis, Executive Director for Reins of HOPE.

More than half of the youth at the Juvenile Facilities have requested and are participating in ongoing mental health services with Behavioral Health. Reins of HOPE supplements the therapy that youth are already receiving, and may reach some youth that have been resistant to therapy in the past.

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