Removing self-doubt through horses

Program offers rehabilitated horses to help humans overcome life difficulties

Posted 2/13/19

Horses can help us as humans be balanced. “Horses provide confidence within,” said Hilary Wilcher, founder of Loco Caballo, “and it filters out from there.” Loco Caballo offers horse …

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Removing self-doubt through horses

Program offers rehabilitated horses to help humans overcome life difficulties

Posted

Horses can help us as humans be balanced.

“Horses provide confidence within,” said Hilary Wilcher, founder of Loco Caballo, “and it filters out from there.”

Loco Caballo offers horse experience programs that focus on “energy work” with horses — specifically, riding.

Wilcher started Loco Caballo in Australia in 2014, and after returning to the U.S., launched it at Silver Quarter Acres, a boarding stable at 5551 Indiana St. in the Fairmont area, in July 2018. Wilcher uses rescue/rehabilitated horses — horses that had been formerly abused — and fully trains them for Loco Caballo’s programs. While not a registered therapist, Wilcher specializes in using horses to help people suffering with what she calls “life difficulties.” These life difficulties can run the gamut, but can include depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD and even stress or fears, for example.

“It’s about connecting the human higher self to the spirit of the horse. We all have self-doubts as humans,” Wilcher said. “The horses prove to us that they’re not true.”

With her 35+ years of experience in horsemanship, Wilcher offers private riding lessons through Loco Caballo. However, after learning about the prevalence of mental health issues among youth, Wilcher wanted to use her skills with horses to do her part to help control the problem.

“Youth my age, and a little older and a little younger, face a lot of identity insecurities,” said Idaly Wilcher, 15, Hilary Wilcher’s daughter and one of two of Loco Caballo’s youth mentors. “You can begin to feel down about yourself or that you’re not good enough.”

In addition, Idaly Wilcher said, teens sometimes feel like they have to keep everything inside, for fear of being bullied at school or picked on through social media for letting their emotions out. This, she said, can lead to even more depression or anxiety, and that has the possibility of leading to an eventual suicide attempt.

But, Idaly Wilcher said, “when you’re riding or spending time with a horse, all your emotions can simply go away.”

Grace Hickman, 14, of Highlands Ranch has been working with Wilcher and her horses for about a year, on average about two or three times a month.

Grace has always been shy and struggles with anxiety, her mother Jen Hickman said.

Wilcher “really connected with Grace,” Jen Hickman said. “She focuses on deep breathing and relaxing, and then goes forward with the riding. It’s amazing to go to each lesson and watch Grace’s progression.”

Grace notes that since she’s been working with the horses, she has gained self-confidence, and that confidence has spread to both her social life and academic achievements. She especially enjoys riding the horses — simply walking around the arena on them, she said.

“I enjoy the connection I have with the horses,” Grace Hickman said. “When I’m with them, I feel relaxed and comfortable.”

Currently, Wilcher offers two programs through Loco Caballo. One is the Horse Membership Program, which got its start about a month ago.

This “opens the doors for everyone to the equine world,” Hilary Wilcher said.

The Horse Membership Program requires a one-time deposit fee of $1,500, and a fee of $350 per month for unlimited access to the horses. The deposit fee goes toward acquiring rescue horses, rehabilitating and training them and outfitting them for use. The monthly fee goes toward boarding, maintenance and regular care of the horses. The Membership Program requires an initial riding assessment, but full-time coaches are available during any booking.

The second program is Horse Youth Group, which is offered to youth ages 10-18. Cost for the two-hour session of Horse Youth Group is $35 per person. Currently, Horse Youth Group requires registration, as it is offered once a month, with the February session full and a TBD date for March. But as the program expands, Hilary Wilcher is hoping to host it weekly on a drop-in basis, she said.

Horse Youth Group “is a day of reflection, fun and letting go as they (youth) learn about horses,” Hilary Wilcher said.

Horses are a great reflector, she said, adding they take her on a journey which then helps her guide a person to release the blockage, or life difficulty, they’re struggling with.

“Horses will never judge you,” Idaly Wilcher said. “They can be the one and only being that makes you realize your good qualities and helps you feel better about yourself.”

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