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Lake Middle School teachers introduces students to Equine Therapy

A small group of students at Lake Middle School was introduced to Equine Therapy in the classroom on Friday, October 13 with a visit from a two-year-old miniature horse.

Darla Ramberg, Language Arts teacher at Lake Middle School, purchased a miniature horse named “Bugle Boy Kid” last June. Since then, Bugle and Ramberg have visited many care centers with plans to expand their therapy to children’s hospitals and now, schools. Ramberg said, “watching the students’ today at Lake hug, want to get kisses, and perhaps even touch a real horse for the first time is what makes me look forward to the next place Bugle visits.”

Standing tall at just 27 ½ inches, Bugle’s small size and calm demeanor make him the perfect therapy horse. He has brought joy through therapy visits at local senior care centers, memory care and hospice facilities. Ramberg states that, “animals truly do have a way of connecting with people.” She goes on to say, “ I have seen this first hand with people living with dementia that have limited short-term memory, yet they smile, hug, and are able to tell me all about their childhood experiences with horses. I have seen a person with limited facial muscle movement due to a stroke, smile and say a couple of words, when this person has not been able to do this for months, the minute Bugle walked into her home at a Senior facility.”

In addition to triggering memories and emotions, studies indicate that equine therapy has been successful in helping people improve in personal/social aspects such as assertiveness, emotional awareness, empathy, stress tolerance, flexibility, impulse control, problem-solving skills, self-actualization, independence, self-regard, social responsibility, and interpersonal relationships.

Equine therapy has been a calling for Ramberg and her way of “paying it forward” to people in need of support. Ramberg said, “what better way to share my love of horses, and bring mini blessing to others through Bugle.”