The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

State, national, world

October 19, 2013

Home on the ranch

MOORELAND, Okla. — When Kyla Dolph was 16 years old, she wanted to die.

Suicidal with a fractured relationship with her father and mother, the young teen resorted to drugs and cutting to dull or erase her painful existence, she said.

Now, two years later, if you ask Dolph, she will not skirt the truth.

She will tell you, she most likely would not be alive today were it not for her nearly 10-month stay at a place of healing near Mooreland called White Horse Ranch.

“When I got here I was really depressed and had no relationship with my mother. I was at the point where I had been in and out of so many places that when I came here, I just thought I would fake my treatment and go home,” Dolph said. “But the longer I stayed here, the more I realized that I had some responsibility in all of this and that I had to open up and talk about my past even though I thought my past wasn’t bothering me. My therapist Jessica showed me that I needed to open up and talk about it.”

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A new life

White Horse Ranch opened its healing, residential treatment ranch for girls Nov. 15, 2007.

The 6,500-square-foot ranch house situated on 33 acres south of Mooreland previously was owned by Baptist Children’s Home, White Horse founder and director Tammie Smith said.

The property came up for sale at the time in Smith’s life when she felt a tugging from God to answer a call.

“I was in the hospital with thyroid cancer and I got to this place where I said, ‘OK, I see how it is God, bring me back to what I was supposed to be doing, to what I am supposed to leave as a legacy,’” Smith said.

That answer for the licensed professional counselor was the birth of White Horse Ranch.

Now, the large, comfortable ranch house is home to girls whose parents, case workers, probation officers, counselors and, in some cases, the courts have helped them find their way there, Smith said.

White Horse Ranch is a certified equine-assisted psychotherapy program.

It is a 16-bed facility for girls 12 to 18 years old and requires a minimum of 90 days in treatment.

It has a non-recidivism rate of 87 percent, Smith said. That means, 87 percent of the young women graduating from the program have successful outcomes, she said.

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White Horse programs

The girls who live at White Horse Ranch are supervised 24 hours a day by licensed and certified staff, Smith said.

Young women in the program receive 45 hours a week of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, rational-emotive behavioral therapy, and reality therapy among other therapeutic models. The ranch is certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.

The ranch employs nearly 20 full- and part-time employees, including licensed professional counselors, licensed alcohol and drug counselors, an equine specialist, life coaches and chemical dependency technicians, she said.

Cases range from mild problems with behavior and experimentation with drugs and alcohol to deeply disturbing events in their lives, such as young women who have been traumatized by rape, incest and have even been forced to witness murders, Smith said.

Since 2007, more than 250 adolescent girls have been treated at the facility, where one of their primary partners in their personal recovery is a horse, said Hope Smith, outreach coordinator.

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And a horse led them

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