MANSFIELD -- Colleen Alkire has combined her passions for horses and for helping veterans in what she’s calling the Triple 777 Ranch’s Heaven on Earth program.
The ranch, at 7039 County Road 57, will provide equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy programs with the purpose of helping patients overcome hurdles in their lives by relating their daily challenges to those they face while interacting with the horses.
"My family has a military background … so it breaks my heart when I see veterans suffering,” Alkire said. "And I know, healing through horses is such an amazing solution."
The ranch’s services are designed for veterans, foster children or anyone else who’s experienced trauma, mental illness or addiction.
"You can’t lie to a horse. They can feel what you’re feeling," Alkire said. "The horses will tell you about the problem based on how they react to the people."
This creates a unique environment where clients are encouraged to find their own solutions to problems from within themselves.
This was demonstrated last weekend at the ranch’s grand opening. A family, Alkire recalled, volunteered to participate in an exercise where they would work to improve their time management skills.
“Well, you can’t force horses to do anything,” Alkire said. “And they had to build an obstacle course for the horse. Each had its own opinion and was trying to do their own thing.
“Time management went right out the window until they learned they had to function as a team.”
None of the programs involve riding the horses, she added. Instead, activities involve leading the horses. Following the arena session, clients talk about the experience, sharing as much as they want. Often, Alkire sees them leave having made their own connections to their daily lives.
The ranch is currently accepting and booking new clients. Scholarships may be available for those without insurance to cover the programming.
For more information, visit triple777ranch.com.