Horses in a field

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Below is a letter from a mom whose kids got help at Idaho Youth Ranch. 

We are so happy to find a program that works our boys. We felt out of options and about a year ago we found the Idaho Youth Ranch who was willing to help.

In August of 2017, we welcomed our new baby girl. Now we had two boys and newborn who required more needs than a typical newborn. My boys have mental health diagnoses and I had them in Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy previously. We only qualified for state assistance for a short time. 

My childhood was traumatic. Both myself and my husband had dysfunctional families. I have a hard time coping and teaching those skills to my children. I struggle more than I probably should, and I have unresolved issues I deal with daily. Ten years into motherhood- still don't feel like I know what I was doing. I certainly try my best, but always feel like I fall short. 

My older son Brandon has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. Conrad was almost 8-year-old and was diagnosed with anxiety, as well. I suspect other issues that I can't pinpoint. Our new baby had major surgery at 6 months old.

Almost immediately, after her hospital stay our rental property we called home was being sold. Not only was I trying to nurse my baby back to health, I was packing up my large home and not sure where we would end up. We moved to Middleton. Our rent was now 40% more. We lost about 700 square feet and half an acre. The advantages where we would be closer to a few family members, and in a better school.

It was a tough move on my kids. They had friends and people who they had known for 4 years. The surgery for their sister was remarkably tough, as well.

I was becoming increasingly concerned about Conrad's behaviors. He was having panic attacks and getting angry very easily. I was upset Brandon was struggling, too. He had a really hard time with his peers and wasn't doing as well in school. Their diagnoses made life pretty tough for them at times.

I follow the Idaho Youth Ranch on Facebook and I came across a post about out-patient counseling. I knew there was a Ranch in Rupert, but I knew little else. I was excited because I really felt out of options.

What I have through learned it is that it is possible to "break the cycle." Our kids needed help.

Outpatient therapy for Brandon and Equine Therapy seemed so natural for Conrad. He has a "knack" for animals. He truly loves them. He finds comfort in them and they love him back. He connects well with many creatures.

We did intake and discussed what was available. To my surprise, Equine Therapy was recommended for both my boys.

Being Idaho native’s nature has always been important to us. We take our family camping, go fishing and take bike rides. Doing outside therapy seemed like a very good fit for us.

I was nervous my parenting had caused my boys to act out and I would be judged by that. I was scared to expose my family and how I wasn't always the "perfect" parent.

Brandon and Conrad have been attending Equine Therapy for about six months.

I have seen many improvements. I really like how it is a whole family approach and I like my husband and I can participate. The boys and I love being outdoors at our sessions. It is an absolutely beautiful setting and goes way beyond typical counseling environments. I have learned what has worked best for my boys is thinking outside the box and being creative has been most effective for treating them. Outside therapy has been extremely beneficial.

Conrad is much calmer since beginning in August. I know muddling through our issues is a process. We are learning to communicate. He is learning how to express himself in healthy ways.

Brandon is coping. He is learning better social skills. He is learning self-control.

Brandon enjoys all the things to see and do when attending therapy. He begs to hike and explore. It is an absolutely lovely and even breathtaking views. It allows me to be where I like to be. I can think more clearly and process not having four walls around me. It is mind-clearing to me to just be in the area and admire all the wonderful things this new ranch offers. I am certain this is true for my boys as well.

Using the horses, we are finding things that cause conflict and working through those issues. I am learning we all must work together to find family harmony. I am constantly reminded my children are an important part of the family unit. Many days, I still want to pull my hair out but anyone who knows me know I do not give up easily. This means, our family will continue working and talking. Working with the therapists, I can only see positive benefits as we continue. I have learned horses don't judge and neither do the therapists. Our therapists show so much compassion and patience. They are doing what works for my boys!

Thank you for offering us this opportunity. Our boys are getting tools which will help them for the rest of their lives.

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