AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Family Support Services has a new furry friend to help locals get back on their feet.
Scooter Brown is Family Support Services newest member who specializes in equine therapy.
For about two years now, the organization has introduced clients to horses in hopes to help them overcome struggles like addictions and build relationships and there are hopes Scooter will be able to reach out to a wider audience.
"He's another dynamic because a lot of the times the big horses are intimidating for clients and I think people who are a little bit afraid of horses will see him as more approachable," FSS Clinical Director Molly Rafferty said.
Standing at about 32 inches tall, Scooter Brown may be small but he plays an important part in equine therapy.
He works with people to help teach emotional regulation and how to carry relationships out of the arena into real life.
"Our horses can help the clients to learn how to control emotions that we experience in relationships as they watch the horses relate to each other," Rafferty said. "There's also that great feeling when you connect to another living being."
Each client's session with a horse will be different, some will teach children about safety and many will be hands-on with the horses to overcome obstacles that represent real life problems.
"A man with problems with relationships and addictions had set up obstacles that he was dealing with in his life, he said one obstacle was himself and the other was additions," Rafferty said. "The horse he was working with overcame the obstacle that represented himself, but when she got to the addictions obstacle she wouldn't go over it. When he took a different approach to bring her over that obstacle the other horses joined and to me that was just a powerful moment."
Right now support services works with five horses who are owned by Rafferty who is certified in equine therapy, but to qualify for training the horses only need to have a calm demeanor.
"You don't want a horse that's going to be aggressive or mean but all of our horses are very gentle and kind and they're just really easily relatable I think with people," Rafferty said.
So far, a team of horses have worked with about 35 clients and there are now plans to introduce Scooter not only to those with support services but veterans suffering from PTSD and first responders.
For more information about Scooter or services provided through Family Support Service visit their website.