gmhTODAY 01 gmhToday Mar Apr 2015 - Page 8

south santa clara valley community organization The World of DreamPower Horsemanship Written By Robin Shepherd DreamPower offers: • • • • • • • • Equine-facilitated psychotherapy Therapeutic horsemanship lessons Horses for Warriors (veterans’ programs) Equine Journey Wilderness Group (horse camping) Ponies and Preschoolers Horses and Hearts (couples workshop) Horse Power: Living Strong with MS Therapist/Instructor Training Program …and more. M artha McNiel loved horses even as a child. Her father had no problem with her taking horseback riding lessons, attending horse camp and going for trail rides. Buying a horse, however, was out of the question. Like the old saying goes, the best things in life are worth waiting for. And so it was that when McNiel turned 40, she got her first horse. “At the time, I was well along in my career as a psychotherapist employed by the City and County of San Francisco to work with youth in the foster care system. “I kept my horse at a ranch in Marin County because it was close to the office, and I found myself looking forward eagerly to riding my horse after work.” McNiel began to recognize the calming and peaceful effect horses had on her and others at the horse ranch. “I kept thinking how good it would be to bring the foster kids to the ranch to spend time with horses as part of their therapy.” McNiel was in the midst of pursuing a PhD, and she decided to focus her doctoral dissertation on equine-assisted therapy, which was somewhat uncharted territory at the time. “Back in the mid 1990s, the field was still new and my fello