Yellowhawk holds equine therapy open house June 23

MISSION – An open house was held for the K’usiinmi Tawtnukt Horse Medicine Program on June 23 in the Tribal Arena on Patawa Road.
During the open house, a demonstration of a horse medicine session took place and spectators were able to see how Tribal culture and history will be incorporated.
“We are not a full equine therapy program,” said Fabian Spencer of the Native American Connections Program of Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center. “It’s more of a culturally specific service that we will provide to Yellowhawk patients.”
The program’s curriculum will run on 6-8 sessions and will cover horse culture and history, safety, arena duties, and horse activities.
According to Spencer, one of the first things participants will learn will be the history of horses in the area. They will teach about horse migration in the 1700’s and will discuss how the horse helped expand Tribal travel and trading, as well as touch on current efforts in bringing the horse back. Participants will also get opportunities to pet and groom the horses.
Facilitators of the Horse Medicine Program will be YTHC employees Wenona Scott, Julie Brandenburg, Sierra Quaempts, J’Shon Thompson, Mercedes Van Tassel, Sheryl Duran, and Spencer. Each facilitator went through equine training and certification on “Becoming one with Spirit of the Horse,” a three day workshop provided by certified specialist Jon Eagle Sr., a Hunkpapa Lakota.
Yellowhawk is also on the lookout to add more horses and horse handlers to their program. Letters of interest can be mailed to the Horse Medicine Program at 46314 Timine Way Pendleton, OR 97838.
“The horse interaction is another way for an individual to heal,” said Spencer. “We want to bring that to the people.”