RAVEN ROCK RANCH
To intercept & break the cycles of trauma, suicide, and domestic violence by pairing trauma-impacted people with rescued horses.
It is our highest honor to serve children of all backgrounds.
Unconditional love and acceptance of all is exemplified.
Equine Facilitated Therapy for At-Risk Youth
Equine Facilitated Therapy for At-Risk Youth
Need for Services
Founded in 2011, Raven Rock Ranch (RRR) has a mission to intercept and break the cycles of trauma, suicide and domestic violence. Our program serves Western Washington, focused on King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties. Mental health support is provided for all people age 7 years and up who have experienced severe emotional, physical, or verbal trauma and/or abuse. Many of our clients have ongoing issues with violent behavior in the workplace, at school or in the home and have contemplated and planned suicide. The majority of the clients have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit disorder and all forms of attachment disorders.
RRR uses scientifically proven mental health therapies that are very individualized – one client, one horse, and one Facilitator work together to develop skills such as cooperation, trust, healthy boundaries, and responsibility. All of our professional Facilitators are trained and certified in HEAL (Human Equine Alliances for Learning – www.humanequinealliance.com), which is internationally recognized as a premier model of Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning.
As part of our mission, many of our horses are rescued from abusive homes or abandonment. Once a horse is in our care, we carefully evaluate the animal for temperament, reliability, and behavior to ensure a good fit for our program and clients. RRR works closely with various sources such as veteran organizations, social service agencies, churches, and schools. Referrals come directly from these agencies and/or private counseling services, as well as from partner therapy programs. Families in need can also self-refer, and are screened into the program by our Admissions Director.
How it Works
Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning (EFPL), has been shown to successfully treat those suffering from the effects of trauma, depression, anxiety, and many other mental health stressors. Although many forms of animal therapy have been shown to be successful, equine therapy is unique in that it works directly with the feelings and body-sensations that hold the memories of trauma.
When a client comes to RRR they are carefully matched with a horse and Facilitator, with whom they will work one-on-one throughout their therapy. The bond that is developed between the horse, client, and Facilitator is the real beginning of mental and emotional healing. The horse is the bridge relationship that allows human-to-human relationships to form and flourish. The client can feel safe with a horse, because their past trauma is related to human relationships.
RRR exists to help people in crisis like Irene (not her real name), who has been coming to the ranch for a few years. Her trauma was the result of being raped at a camp she attended when 9 years old. She confided in her mom about the abuse years after the incident, and it left Irene feeling damaged, dirty and unable to defend herself. Schoolwork suffered and she was suicidal. When she first came to RRR she was very, very quiet for at least a year, but she loved her horse and every week she could feel his strength and courage and borrow it for a little while. The progress felt slow at times. But she stuck with it, made some hard choices about what was really important to her in this life, and now that she is 19, she has finished high school on time (a feat that no one believed she could accomplish). Irene now attends college and is pursuing a career in performing arts.
Last year, RRR provided 2,000+ hours and 1200+ sessions of free mental health services. There’s greater demand for EFPL as many more families experience trauma related to the COVID-19 pandemic and veterans returning from war. At the same time, our ability to meet the needs of these families will be severely limited if we are unable to pay for the professional staffing required. RRR is the only no-cost Equine-Facilitated Therapy program in the entire Western Washington region. Although we continue to grow both in our programming and facilities, we have a huge number of persons and families on our waiting list. Our goal is to continue our expansion with additional staff, Facilitators, and horses to serve all people and families in need.
$8500 will support the annual cost of one client ($23 per day)
$7000 will support the annual cost of a horse ($19 per day)
All of our services are provided free of charge, and totally supported by the generous support of our community.
After 1 year of treatment, we typically see the following results:
Suicidal ideation rates decrease from 98% to 2%
Grade point average increase goes from 1.7 to 3.2
School attendance increase from 58% to 93%
Home, work and school behaviors improve until the negative behaviors are extinguished
The attendance to our program is excellent as this is a program the clients feel safe and accepted while enjoying the interaction with horses. An average of 98% of all clients that begin the program complete it. The retention rate is also high (96%).