Local horse barn that does therapy for veterans hoping to stay o - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Local horse barn that does therapy for veterans hoping to stay open

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GRAND RAPIDS, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A local organization that does therapy sessions for our veterans is at risk of having to shut its doors for good. The leaders at River Bend Stables in Grand Rapids do equine therapy, or therapy using horses.

They may look like normal horses and a normal arena, but Amanda Thompson, Founder and CEO of Riverbend Therapy, says they are so much more.

"This program is my life's work. It's my passion. It's a true gift that I can give to the community," said Thompson.

She is talking about the gift of healing.

Thompson and her father bought the place back in 2006 and knew they wanted to use it to help others. Thompson became certified to do equine therapy, which uses the horses for ground exercises with a client. The horses and situations they are put in serve as metaphors for the client's life.

"However they find healing in the arena can be applied and that's how they find healing in life," said Thompson.

Thompson works closely with Keith Cherry, a mental health facilitator.  She works primarily with veterans, but says anyone can benefit from this type of therapy.

"I've seen veterans go from having a gun to their head to graduating law school. I've had rape victims go from being anti-social to going out in the world and getting a job," said Thompson. 

She often does these sessions for free.

Thompson's father recently passed away. Without his help both physically and financially, she's worried she will have to sell the farm and find new homes for the animals, leaving those who need the therapy without it.

"With him passing away it's really sink or swim at this point and it's all I can do help carry on his dream," said Thompson.

The stories of healing that happen there are truly incredible. Organizers are hoping to raise $12,000.    

 If you want to help the organization stay open visit http://www.riverbendequine.org

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