Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association (VTEA) president Lynn Moseley took some time on Thursday afternoon to visit the horses and give them all a treat – fresh carrots, lovingly donated by a client.
The 11 horses on site have been working hard throughout the summer – contending with hot weather, flies, and the ever-changing schedules because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
With continued COVID-19 protocols in place, volunteers, side-walkers, and most importantly, clients are being welcomed back more and more as the provincial reopening gets underway.
Moseley told The Star that despite the difficult past year-and-a-half, VTEA has been able to offer a lot of positivity and resources for people seeking help, healing and a break from the pandemic and the isolation is represents to some.
“We had a visit from Mayfair Terrance retirement residents,” she explained. “We were able to provide the seniors with a very unique outing where they enjoyed a safe but up close and personal experience with our horses. This experience was very new to them, and they were all thrilled with their time on the farm.”
The guests learned about equine assisted therapies, horse massage therapy, basic biomechanics, and got to play an interactive game focused on fun horse facts.
“They’re already planning their next visit and I’ve reached out to the Langley Seniors Resource Centre to see if we can arrange something for seniors in the Langley community,” Moseley said.
New private counselling sessions are also now being offered at the non-profit too; a local father who recently lost his wife to cancer shared some positive words on what the VTEA has done for him.
“The group of amazing people at Valley Therapeutic have shown me that not only will I survive this very dark time in my life but that I can come out of it stronger,” he said.
His two children spend time with a counsellor while grooming and working with horses while he works with another counsellor to work through his own grief and loss and learning how to support his children as they work through their own grief and loss.
“The pure genuine joy that clearly appears on their faces when I tell them that we get to visit Valley is truly amazing. That in itself is therapy for me,” he said. “It gives my kids something to look forward to when sometimes there is little else.”
Moseley explained that VTEA’s approach to counselling/therapy is merely another method to offer people looking for help.
“We’re not saying this modality is better than the more traditional clinical setting with a counsellor – not at all. It’s just a different way of delivering therapy,” she said, noting programs can include different aspects of working with horses, which often takes people’s minds to a more calmed and open state. “Some ways work better than others for some individuals.”
From programs that aid with stress and anxiety to opportunities for riders that need help with mobility and balance, Moseley explained the organization’s goal is to always progress and move forward.
“We have a new program we’re aiming to launch this fall for groups and families. Families can come and work together with a horse, which helps them connect and communicate better through collaborative exercises,” she said.
With progress comes the eternal need for volunteers to help provide these therapies to their clients. Volunteers are needed for leading and side-walking in the arena, as well as for caring for the horses or the stables.
Recently, several volunteers took part in a “Valley Makeover” out of pride and care for the non-profit.
Help is always welcome and if anyone wishes to contribute or learn more, they can visit www.vtea.ca.
“We can’t do it without volunteers,” Moseley assured, “and here at Valley, we are a family of volunteers.”
Located at 256th Street in Aldergrove – just south of the Fraser Highway – VTEA has been providing therapeutic horseback riding and hippotherapy treatments since 1983.
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