Charis Youth Center is proud to offer youth the opportunity to work with Rock-n-Horse Ranch in Grass Valley, Equine Assisted Therapy Program. The program at Rock-n-Horse Ranch uses a skill building curriculum to teach students independence, belonging, mastery, and generosity. Each student will gain improved life skills, confidence, and enthusiasm. The students earn certifications for completed coursework and proven mastery in specific areas. The students can proudly display their certifications and include them in their personal portfolio as job skills certification. All instructors at Rock-n-Horse Ranch are certified and trained in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine-Assisted Learning.

Equine Assisted Philosophy (EAP) Services
When someone finds themselves at odds with life, they need help. Therapy and life coaching are very reliable places to get that help. EAP offers this type of help using the horses. Working with the horse offers the client an alternative to the stress and pressure of one-on-one therapy interactions. It naturally brings everything into the present and works both sides of the brain (EMDR). The staff will suggest exercises ensure safety and serve as third party observers. Valuable information is gathered on how a client approaches challenges, how they feel about themselves, relationships, and what abilities they already possess.

As clients experience the world of EAP with our program, we’ve identified three distinct phases:

  • The first phase is all about awareness. Clients become more present when working in and around the horses for their own safety if for nothing else. As they get more and more confident and comfortable, they improve their natural abilities to notice non-verbal cues and their awareness begins to encompass many new details of their surroundings and it expands in ever-widening circles.
  • Phase two begins as the client starts communicating with the horse and learning how to become a leader. This ‘partnership’ begins to build mutual trust and bonding. This phase is exciting as it may be the best learning model for how to be in a relationship, maintain personal boundaries, trust and being trusted, develop good communication skills and set reasonable expectations.
  • The client learns about who they are and what they want in life.
  • Phase three is simple, yet profound: The client makes the connection between the success with the horses and their human relationships. They understand awareness, body language, boundaries, communication, leadership, responsibilities, roles, belonging, trust, and respect. They have a much better understanding of these new skills, who they are and where they fit as a part of the whole herd.

Life Skills EAP sessions consist of exercises that explore self-improvement in areas that the client identifies. These exercises encourage the client to work on awareness of their surroundings and non-verbal cues (theirs and the horses). Use of imagination, a sense of playfulness and offering a safe, non-judgemental environment helps the client be open to new possibilities. Every’ comment or observation is phrased in a positive, productive manner. Clients get instant feedback, rewards and signals from the horse. Most of the interaction between the horse and client is not vocalized with the staff. The client has the ability to decide what they want to share. The thoughts, experiences and memories of each horse encounter will remain very vivid and useful to the client for weeks, months and even years later. Horse-driven life skill activities are initiated at the ranch, but they continue to be helpful and effective in the client’s everyday interactions away from the ranch.
Therapy EAP sessions follow the format of Life Skills but also include the client and therapist working with exercises that are directed by the therapist to highlight diagnosed areas and are part of the client’s treatment plan. The ranch only accepts therapy clients, with diagnosed issues, when a qualified therapist is present. The client-therapist privilege and patient privacy are highly respected.

EAP works. It works because the focus is on the horse; it causes the person to be in the present and to use both sides of his/her brain; the horse is a master at non-verbal communication; the horse reflects what the person is feeling; the horse is easy to read and quick to forgive; the horse has no hidden agenda and just wants to know where it fits with the human; the horse responds to good communication and leadership.
– Used with permission from Rock-n-Horse Ranch

Rock n Horse Ranch uses the philosophy and program developed by The O.K. Corral Series to certify the students in specific exercises. The certifications correlate to essential life skills and the students have the opportunity to include certifications in their resume and personal portfolio.

The O.K. Corral Series is a program based out of Reno, Nevada. They are the original and ultimate training in the practice of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). The O.K. Corral Series educates, promotes, and supports professionals in the practice of authentic equine-assisted work. Authentic equine-assisted work honors and integrates natural horse and herd behavior as a model for human mental and emotional health using the equine-assisted philosophies developed by Greg Kersten, Founder of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

For additional information on the O.K. Corral series please visit