The healing power of horses

PUHI — Healing Horses Kaua‘i sent two horses and two ponies to spend Saturday with residents at Regency at Puakea, a retirement and assisted living facility in Puhi.

“Whether the residents ride, pet, or just watch, the horses have therapeutic value,” Sharon Lasker, the Regency’s director of marketing, said about the quarterly event.

Karin Stoll, clinical director of Healing Horses Kaua‘i, said one resident rode horses most of her life.

“She is originally from Arizona, and when she moved here, she thought she would never ride again,” Stoll said. “When she gets on the horse, it’s magic.”

Stoll said when the horses are scheduled to visit the Regency, she arranges to have clients come over to the Regency for their rides instead of the Healing Horses office on Aikahi Street in Lihu‘e.

“We also pick up kids whose grandparents live at the Regency,” Stoll said. “This means they can visit their grandparents and still have their horse rides.”

Healing Horses is an equine therapeutic service provider, Stoll explained. The facility has a stable of 10 horses, two ponies, a staff of 20 people and a crew of volunteers.

“We partner with the horses to offer emotional, physical and developmental therapy,” she said. “We’re expanding our services to include people who just want riding lessons or summer camp.”

Stoll said the expansion is made possible through the generosity of movie star Bette Midler, who recently offered Healing Horses  land in the Kapa‘a Bypass Road area.

“We have been looking for land where we can hang our hat for so long,” Stoll said.

“We are so thankful and appreciative of Bette Midler — it goes beyond words — and what she does to support this island.”


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