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HHR lassoes showdown rodeo as fundraiser
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A true cowboys’ showdown rodeo fundraiser will be held to benefit Healing Hearts Ranch, a nonprofit ranch providing low cost equine therapy. It will be held beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Barton County Fairgrounds with concessions, buggy rides, barrel train, bounce house and auction. Admission is $1.
“The HHR Ranch Rodeo & Auction event allows families to watch the relationship between horse and rider in action as they compete in working ranch activities,” said HHR Director Scott Stinemetz. “Four-man teams showcase skills and strength in doctoring, mugging and trailer loading.”
The purpose of this unique family friendly evening is to raise funds for the continuation of family centered therapy services provided at HHR to at-risk children and families regardless of the ability to pay.  
“HHR  has provided therapeutic counseling services to a variety of individuals in the Golden Belt Area for the past eight years,” said Stinemetz.
Word has spread about HHR, resulting in lengthy waiting lists. Clients are referred through organizations in the area including the local family courts, crisis centers and foster care system.  As the public learns about the effectiveness of equine assisted therapy requests have been made for services regarding marriages, parenting, and abuse.
Entry fee is $300 for the rodeo competition per team and there is a 15 team limit. Prizes include buckles, head stalls, and ropes for team members.
The therapeutic model at HHR is based on twelve weekly sessions.  In this time “break-throughs” often occur rapidly due to the relaxed atmosphere of the ranch and the interactions geared toward a horse.  
Currently, HHR utilizes a rotating group of two licensed therapists, two equine specialists and ten horses who work together to provide thirty-two therapy sessions each week.  HHR currently has an operating budget of $35,000 which provides support for the horses, facility maintenance & licensed therapists.  
“To meet the needs of the community, we continue to increase our number of sessions but are in need of more space and facilities to provide services,” said Stinemetz.
For more information on joining, call Scott Stinemetz at (620) 792-5173.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an emerging field in which horses are used as a tool for emotional growth and healing. Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with horses that are directed by certified professionals, who then help the participants to process (or discuss) feelings, behaviors and patterns. In addition to challenging participants in a non-threatening manner, EAP helps to rapidly break down emotional defense barriers, provide immediate cause and effect situations, captivate and hold one’s attention, and promote change from dysfunctional patterns to healthy, successful ones.  The focus of EAP is not riding or horsemanship.  Ninetyfive to 100 percent of EAP takes place purely on the ground. The focus of EAP is to design activities involving the participant and the horse which will help the participant to develop skills and tools used in non-verbal communication, problem-solving, teamwork and relationship building. These activities are also designed to help them build confidence, assertiveness, and a sense of responsibility.