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Horse Sense

Beautiful Relationships

Harmony Acres Equestrian Center is an Equine and Animal-Assisted Therapy Center located in Loma, Colorado, which has the mission of “creating a place where people and animals come together for the purpose of healing.” Serving children has always been an important part of this mission, explains Morgan Kareus, who is the Program Director at Harmony Acres.

“There is a very special, genuine interaction between kids and animals,” states Kareus. “Children bring a natural innocence and joy. . ..which the animals immediately pick up on and
respond to. Our animals are always welcoming and loving, giving children the unique experience of complete acceptance.”

That interaction forms the basis of three main programs for children at Harmony Acres:
Therapeutic Riding: working with children who have physical, developmental, or mental/emotional disabilities, Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy for children who have gone
through traumatic experiences such as: abuse, or family separation; and recreational programing: which involves typical children in the community with horses and other animals to build confidence, self-esteem, and empathy.

These programs, explain Kareus, are lead by staff and therapists with the highest level of
training in their respective fields. “Our mental health team [members] are certified therapists, with many years of helping individuals with trauma.” Says Kareus. “[For Therapeutic Riding] we have one PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, and another staff member working towards this certification. Our staff [as a whole] have countless years of horse experience...and many years of experience connecting animals and people for the therapeutic benefits.”

Programs typically last 6-10 weeks, one hour per week. In each therapeutic program, a treatment plan is developed with set treatment goals for the child participants. The therapists
use this to track progress, just as in regular therapy sessions. The equine or animal participants add an element, however, that goes beyond traditional techniques.

“Working with horses is relational,” says Kareus. “They thrive on trust, clear communication
and encouragement.  When children and horses begin to connect and build a relationship
together, this often leads [the child] to a better understanding of themselves... The
willingness of the horse to work together with us is intriguing, and the journey of understanding
this connection is full of self-discovery.”

Because this is such a unique and effective form of therapy, Harmony Acres focuses on serving all children and families, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.

Says Kareus, “Very few families or caregivers can afford to pay the full cost of a session.” Rather than turn families away, Harmony Acres offers participants financial aid through a sliding scale. For the remaining expenses, Harmony Acres’ Board of Directors and leadership engage in  outreach efforts and fundraising, building community support and donations that help cover program costs. A portion of the program needs are also covered by community grants and local business sponsorships.

Raising these funds takes a lot of effort, but the one thing that keeps the Harmony Acres team
going: The high need in the community, which is never lacking.

“There is a tremendous need [for these services] in our community,” explains Kareus. “We
maintain a waitlist that is anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months out.”

The other impetus that keeps Harmony Acres staff and directors diligently working day after
day? The animals themselves, which are always eagerly waiting to share their love, lessons, and healing with others.

Last year Harmony Acres was able to connect over 100 children to horses and other animals in professionally-facilitated therapeutic and recreational programs. With the addition of new staff and therapists to their programming this year, Harmony Acres hopes to increase their services by 30-50%. If you would like to learn more about Harmony Acres or make a donation to support their programming, visit

Harmony Acres would like to thank: Autopaychecks Inc; Humphrey RV; Grand Junction Kiwanis Club; and Junior Service League; for their generous support of Harmony Acres’ programs for children.