Visitors can see the “ranch magic” during the Paws for Reflection Ranch horse show this Saturday.
The horse show is an opportunity for the ranch’s riders to showcase what they have learned to their friends and family. The show will happen in two parts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon at the ranch, located at 5431 Montgomery Road in Midlothian.
Ranch co-founder and president Melode Seremet said the show isn’t a competition. She anticipates about 200-300 people to show up to watch their 50 riders.
“For our riders, this is their sport,” Seremet said. “All these other sports have competition times where people can watch, and this is their opportunity to show off what they’ve learned and how they’ve improved since last year.”
The ranch is geared toward helping those with anxiety, autism and ADHD, along with any other issues people may need to work out in therapy like trauma as seen in veterans, Seremet said. She said riding therapy specifically helps the client focus and maintain that focus in their day-to-day lives.
With an array of experts, the ranch offers equine-assisted counseling, animal-assisted counseling, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, traditional counseling and play therapy. Seremet said they serve young children all the way up to seniors.
“We wear a lot of hats,” she said.
She said they use all types of animals including hedgehogs, rabbits, goats, mini horses and horses in their therapy sessions.
Counselor Amy Carr said she focuses primarily on helping children 2-16 years old with trauma by using play therapy with the assistance of animals.
“Play is the primary language of a child,” she said. “It’s a beautiful model.”
She added that kids receive and give unconditional love to the animals which makes it easier for them to open up about their problems.
Seremet said the animals give immediate feedback to what the people are doing in counseling which allows them to make adjustments. A child may be in riding assisted therapy to work on communication skills and the horses give feedback on if that style of communication is working, she explained.
“It gives you a chance to try it out in real time,” she added. “It may be positive or the horse may not be engaged yet.”
Anyone is welcome at the ranch, and they don’t have to be referred by a doctor, she mentioned. Carr noted many of her referrals come from the schools. The ranch, as a whole, sees referrals from the Dallas and Fort Worth veterans offices.
Dallas resident Elmar Weber, 51, found the ranch through a Google search and hasn’t looked back since.
He has a riding session two to three times a week to help with his emotional wellbeing and connection, he said.
He noted he was depressed for a long time, but the horses have changed that.
“It was life-changing for me,” Weber added.
Many of the people that visit the ranch have undergone traditional therapy and counseling before, Seremet said. This place is different though.
Parents tell Seremet that with a traditional therapist their kids don’t want to attend, but with Paws for Reflection Ranch, they run to the front door.
“That says it all right there,” Seremet said.
Seremet noted there is a small waiting list to be seen and they do process insurance. They do however offer receipts to receive a reimbursement. A 30-minute session costs $30 while a 60-minute session costs $65.
For riding instructor Katelyn Crawford, this will be her second show, and she said there is a large percentage of riders wanting to come out and show what they have learned.
“It’s growing every single year,” she said.
Crawford noted that even her own family plans to come out to see the show.
“It’s really impacting the riders lives,” she said. “It’s not just them sitting on a horse, we get to really impact these lives.”
Samantha Douty, @SamanthaDouty