HPM provides Healthy Leaders whose aim is to build healthy relationships through Mentorship. Each of our trained, qualified & screened Mentors are placed one on one with a Child for a 90 minute session. Every child is given undivided attention, so that we can meet the distinctive needs of each individual and be able to identify challenges, and successes of each child. Our goal of the session is to spend quality time with the child and offer support, encouragement, and fun. Our activities can include, woodworking, arts and crafts, small animals on the farm, games, gardening and natural horsemanship.
Although other animals are valuable in therapeutic settings, horses best replicate human relational behavior and are therefore more effective “teachers.” Horses have the innate ability to understand and respond to people’s emotions and energy. The kids in our program are asked to take responsibility of caring for their horses. In doing so, they begin to form a trusting relationship with the horses that respond to them with unconditional love. Connecting with the horses help the kids to explore and reconnect with their own feelings.
Studies have proven horses can teach children and youth a variety of useful skills that promote successful learning, positive relational connections, and a personal sense of fulfillment. While individual results may vary, it has been reported that benefits include increased focus, development of responsibility, independence and confidence, as well as, self-control, consideration of others and a heightened awareness of their environment. Through working with horses, students are shown how to have a greater sense of empathy for others and experience ways to care for the needs around them. Additionally, working with horses has been shown to lower stress levels, increase joy and promote a greater sense of well-being.
Our 4 Post Values
A hitching post is a post to which a horse may be tethered to prevent it from straying. At HPM, we are committed to four foundational “posts” for youth so that they find their way to a joy-filled, relationally healthy life that enables them to build resiliency and thrive in their future. The four posts we are committed to are:
The extraordinary horses that we use, each of which has their own stories of triumph and hope, are paired with one leader and one individual for a 90 minute session. The sessions are designed to be adaptable to meet the distinctive needs of each person. Every person is given undivided attention by a qualified leader who is able to identify with the individual needs, challenges, and successes. These sessions are done by leaders who have a passion for helping others, and do not accept any payment.
What does a session look like?
The heart of our Session Program is to provide a safe place for children, horses and families to experience hope, healing and encouragement. In each session, through a myriad of methods, there is one main purpose—to Mentor the Child through the love of Jesus.
This is accomplished by inviting children to come just as they are. The leaders of Hitching Post work hard to pair kids with an activity or horse that will encourage them forward toward hope and personal growth.
All activities are chosen at the discretion of each individual leader. Some of these session activities include working with and or riding horses, crafts, games, chores, woodworking and life skills. Each session is designed to be relationally-based time rather than “horse lessons.” While we do teach horsemanship and riding is often included in session times, kids do not necessarily ride each time they come out.
Purposeful: Session leaders do their best to be intentional in all of their interactions to "see" and hear the child where they are at to help create a safe place for them to share. We want to engage and listen if they need to talk or simply hold space for the child.
Chores: Every child and leader pair will complete a 15 minute chore at the beginning of the session. This time is designed to teach the importance of serving others by giving through the work of your own hands. Often this empowers children in knowing that their efforts can make a difference to those around them. It also enables leaders to better understand each child each day, and gain perspective for the best use of time to follow.
Woodwork: Some of our leaders are skilled in carpentry and woodworking. Many kids enjoy time in the shop creating a birdhouse, a pirate ship or a gift for a parent or loved one.
Working with horses: The majority of children who come to Hitching Post are drawn to the ranch because of the horses. These kids will learn to correctly handle, groom, ride, round pen and even vet horses during their sessions. Again, each session depends on the needs of the child and of the horse on any given day.
Crafts: For those who do not wish to spend time riding horses, the ranch has assembled some wonderful craft options for a child and leader to use. One option is “horse painting.” The ranch horses are large and gentle and make great canvases for those who do not wish to ride.
Play: There is value in allowing and encouraging kids to be kids by playing. Many children choose to spend their entire session wholly engaged in playing games.
Gardening: Learning to grow your own sustainable garden and feed those in need - lasting skills that will be rooted in a family.
Sessions can include one or many of the above components, or sometimes something entirely unique. Together, the leader and child determine the best course of action for each session time. Session leaders do their best to listen and creatively respond by using the resources of the ranch to support and encourage children in need.
Requirements for Participation
Our session program is open to all children, ages 6-18. On occasion, based on need, age exceptions are considered. The only other "requirement" is that the child wants to come. Hitching Post understands that every child deals with his or her own set of unique challenges. Session leaders work hard to adapt sessions to meet the individual needs of each child.
HPM is not a residential facility.
While we do not wish to turn any child away, there are a limited number of sessions available each month. Although we cannot guarantee a session for every child who wants one, Hitching Post does its best to accommodate as many participants as possible.
All activities are weather dependent and are chosen at the discretion of the session leader. Because we have activities that can be done inside, we do not cancel sessions due to weather. Also note that closed toed shoes are required in order to ride a horse (Crocs are not acceptable). Other items we recommend for your child to bring for his or her session include long pants, sunscreen, water, layers of warmer clothing, and a snack. We also require that a parent or legal guardian remain on-site during his or her child's session.
Information for parents, guardians & caretakers
We require that a child's parent, guardian, or approved caretaker be on the property at all times during their child's session. Adults and siblings or friends who do not have a session have some options. We hope for this time to be relaxing and enjoyable for all who come. Here are some ideas for that time, as well as some general safety rules:
The Greeter is always available if you have any questions or would like ideas of how to fill this time.
Read or relax in one of the many areas provided. Please ask a Greeter if further information is needed.
Get plugged in as a Local Volunteer, giving back.
Seek out one of the many private benches on the Ranch for quiet reflection and prayer.
Play or be involved with your kids who are not in sessions. Please keep these children with you at all times. You are welcome to use our crafts and toy box during your stay.
Watch your children ride during their session. We do ask that you watch from a distance and help us to maintain a one-on-one relationship with your child.
Taking pictures is permitted and encouraged. Again, we ask parents to use discernment regarding giving space to their child and leader during the session.
The horses love to welcome visitors. We invite you to meet them over the fence. However, please do not enter the paddocks or feed any treats without a HPM leader present.
Session Sign Up
HPM offers 1-1 and group sessions at no cost to kids and teens in a life crisis.
Sessions are scheduled at the following days & times: Wednesdays - Saturdays, 90 minute session times are available. Once registered, a session coordinator will call you to go over your intake form and place your child with the best possible time, date and mentor.
ALL CHILDREN and ALL ADULTS coming onto the premises must have a completed waiver. Each adult must have a completely separate form.
Waiver Release Form PDF
please fill out and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sessions are scheduled at the following days & times: Wednesdays - Saturdays, 90 minute session times are available. Sessions are on a first come first serve basis. To reserve a spot email email@example.com with preferred session date and time.