The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

October 19, 2013

Home on the ranch

(Continued)

MOORELAND, Okla. —

Early in their stay at the ranch, girls are encouraged to pick a horse who will be their partner throughout their stay, Smith said.

With help from equine specialist Brandi Miller, the girls learn basic horse care and handling skills.

“The thing is, usually, the girls will choose a horse with a personality that is a lot like themselves and that is where the bond begins,” Smith said.

Working with therapeutic horses provides individuals and families with honest, non-judgemental insight when working through life problems, Hope Smith said.

“Therapeutic horses quickly become non-verbal mirrors, revealing deeper root issues more quickly than other forms of therapy,” she said.

Life on a ranch, away from home and their friends, is hard for anyone, Smith said.

“Our goal is to let them begin to feel safe and secure,” Smith said. “It’s so interesting to watch them as the days go by and they begin to feel more safe and things just start coming out.”

———

The colors of success

The program is set up on a system that graduates girls from a series of levels designated by a color code.

“A girl will not be graduated from one level to another until she is therapeutically ready,” Smith said.

The first level, called “Grey Level,” is a decompression level where some basic needs such as food, shelter, warmth and safety are met, in some cases for the first time. Privileges are limited in this level.

The second level is called “Brown Level.” This level is symbolized by the color because it suggests digging below the surface emotions and feelings, Smith said. Privileges still are limited but grow to include more space in their hygiene box and more time in the bathroom.

The third level is called “Green Level” and symbolizes new success in growth and coping skills. It shows a real transformation in behavior underscored by her new beliefs about her own life seen by her new “emotional eyes,” Smith said.

The fourth and final level is called “Blue Level” and symbolizes blue skies. It means a girl has developed coping skills based on her new belief system that regularly appear in her behavior. The Blue Level is a continuation of the new growth and maturity.

———

Trials

Smith is a solid, pragmatic woman when she talks to anyone, including her clients. While she has celebrated 268 girls who have come through her facility, like anything in life, it hasn’t been all sunshine, she said.

Of those 268, 11 have run away from the facility, she said.

The facility is a long way from where most of these girls have been reared. A large portion come from more urban settings and a ranch way out in Mooreland can be a difficult change, she said.

Add to that, many of the girls are brought to the facility in an intervention process by their parents.

One girl, June Johnson, had no idea she was coming to White Horse Ranch two years ago. Her grandmother, who had guardianship of her, made the plans without her knowledge.

“My grandma told me we were going to the zoo,” Johnson says now with a laugh.

Johnson, suicidal at the time, did not run away.

Instead, after spending some time spent getting used to a house full of 15 other girls, she chose to learn a new way to live.

Now, the plucky 17-year-old is planning her 18th birthday and is attending Bethany Beauty College with big plans for her future.

“I would never have made it here without the people at White Horse Ranch,” she said.   

Of the 11 girls that ran away though, nine of them called and wanted to come back, Smith said.  

“We did allow some of them to come back,” she said. “In fact, one of them ran away, attempted suicide and when she was sitting there in the hospital after attempting suicide, she told them, ‘I want to go home to the ranch.’”

———

A new life

If you can manage to slow down White Horse graduate Kyla Dolph long enough, she will say much the same thing Johnson does.

Like anyone, she still has a bad day now and again, but employs many of the coping skills she learned while at the ranch. Indeed, she not only benefits from those skills but she is helping other teens who have struggles, she said.

She celebrates a new and close knit relationship with her mother, who she says is her confidant and the person she tells everything to now.

Her hope is to pass on her hard-won peace and success to others who might need some help.

“I got to speak at my old school recently, and I plan to work in equine physical therapy or work n some way with horses and children,” she said.

With the residential program up and running smoothly, Smith has spent the last year preparing licensing requirements to extend her counseling services to adults on an outpatient basis.

Van Horn writes for the Woodward News.

Text Only
National and world
  • Resilient Stocks web.jpg Global tensions don’t dent U.S. enthusiasm for stocks

    As they have all year, investors responded by using it as an opportunity to buy stocks. In fact, they’ve “bought on the dip” consistently for three years, keeping the market’s slips from becoming slides. Stock pullbacks since 2011 have been rare and relatively small, and none have become severe enough to qualify as a correction, Wall Street parlance for a fall of 10 percent or more from a peak.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama leaders web.jpg Migrants: President Obama urges Latino leaders, Republicans to help

    White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said that House Speaker John Boehner’s effort to sue Obama over his use of executive authority “has opened the door for Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast web.jpg Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

    The latest diplomatic setbacks, after several days of high-level diplomacy in the region, signaled that both sides are digging in and that the fighting in Gaza is likely to drag on.
    Israel wants more time to destroy Hamas military tunnels and rocket launching sites in Gaza, while the territory’s Hamas rulers want international guarantees that a Gaza border blockade will be lifted before they cease fire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Hospital Shoo_Hass.jpg Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    A psychiatric patient ranted about a hospital gun ban before opening fire at the suburban medical complex, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 25, 2014

  • g000258000000000000245c0063741aaafcc815c5b3199362fb09f8a7c3.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    
Gibson called Diamond City Hall for help but the police chief was out on another call. The city clerk came to join in the surveillance ...

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Severe Weather web.jpg Tornado slams Virginia campground; 2 dead

    A couple from New Jersey was killed when a tree fell on their tent. Their 13-year-old son, in a tent next to them, had life-threatening injuries.
    He was among three dozen people hurt.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Aviations Bad Week web.jpg Bad week for aviation: Airline disasters come in a cluster

    Industry analysts and safety experts shake their heads at the seeming randomness of the tragedies, saying they can find no common themes. Nor do they think the events indicate that flying is suddenly becoming less safe.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama Economic Patriotism web.jpg Obama wants limits on mergers abroad by U.S. companies

    “They’re technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship. They’re declaring they are based someplace else even though most of their operations are here,” Obama said at a technical college in Los Angeles. “You know, some people are calling these companies corporate deserters.”
    He also charged that such companies are “cherry-picking the rules.”

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona Execution web.jpg As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

    Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan read a statement Thursday outside his office dismissing the notion the execution was botched, calling it an “erroneous conclusion” and “pure conjecture.” He said IVs in the inmate’s arms were “perfectly placed” and insisted that Wood felt no pain.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads