The Rawhide Equine Assisted Therapy (REAP) has a new four-legged therapist—Memphis: a horse who’s long on personality. His previous owner felt Memphis would be a perfect fit for the program and recently donated him to Rawhide. Memphis has indeed been a hit with the guys, providing personality, patience, and 12 years of experience working with people.

Horses Have a Pecking Order?

Rawhide’s Equine Assisted Therapy Program is run by Gretchen Liethen. When guys enter the REAP program Gretchen explains the dynamics of a herd setting and mentions that Memphis is the lowest in the “pecking order.” When guys hear this, they react one of two ways:

  1. Connect with Memphis and want to work with him
  2. Feel Memphis isn’t strong enough and pass on him

Memphis has a feel for the type of guy he works with best. When a guy is more strong willed, Memphis won’t pay much attention to him. When a guy feels more closed off, Memphis connects. Memphis will make the most of the opportunity and pay close attention to the guy, offering him a match better than even Chuck Woolery could make!

Personality Plus…Horse Humor

Memphis has unique ways of presenting himself and connecting with guys. When Memphis becomes interested, he will offer his head to the student for petting and follow the student along the rail. If the student goes in a different direction, he will watch the guy until he returns.

Memphis displays a sense of humor when he is being handled. He makes faces when a guy finds the right spot to scratch. Memphis will also display visible happiness when he is being praised. Once someone starts working with him, Memphis follows them around with abundant happiness. Rawhide guys get a kick out of his personality.

3 Areas of Impact

Memphis noticeably impacts the Rawhide guys. When guys work with Memphis, Gretchen has noticed three areas of improvement:

  1. Confidence – Guys learn how to be a leader by leading Memphis through activities.
  2. Patience – Guys might encounter tough obstacles while tending to Memphis. Thanks to Memphis’ responsiveness, guys learn how to overcome these obstacles with patience.
  3. Compassion – Guys learn how to lovingly care for something outside of themselves and receive that love and affection in return.

During Rawhide’s 50th anniversary, many alumni talked about the impact equine assisted therapy had on their lives. Memphis is more than happy to continue the tradition and help carry out Rawhide’s mission of transforming lives.

Support Equine Assisted Therapy

Rawhide’s Equine Assisted Therapy Program wouldn’t be possible without support from our donors. Contributions buy animal food and supplies to keep our horses and our guys happy. If you are looking for a way to make a difference in your Wisconsin community, please consider making a donation today.