▶️ Healing Reins project to expand its unique equine therapy experience


Stacey Stradley rides Faith every week at Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center in Bend.

“This is Faith, she is a real sweet horse. She is older, she is one of the older horses here,” Stradley said. “She’s a very peaceful horse and she has a personality. She doesn’t like her hooves being cleaned, but she loves her neck being rubbed.”

During the Therapeutic Horsemanship Class, Stradley works on physical, cognitive, and emotional growth with the help of her four-legged partner.

“If my head is somewhere else the horse will pick up on it and even stop and I have to get back into the moment and just be with the horse,” she said.

Healing Reins serves 180 riders, six days a week. These riders find relief through equine therapy.

“Just being with horses they are such a calm and peaceful presence,” Stradley said.

But the large number of services provided is just not enough.

“We have huge waitlists and I don’t want to turn people away,” says Polly Cohen, Executive Director of Healing Reins.

A new indoor area will go up next month in an effort to clear their waitlists and double the capacity of riders.

“This has been years in the planning to have this as an expansion,” Cohen said. “But we are thrilled that even during a year of just trials and tribulations..a pandemic! For us to be able to rise through this and say, ya know what, as a team lets build this arena.”

People of all ages and different needs are served.

Now offering in-house mental health services, accepting insurance with a big goal of not turning anyone away.

Healing Reins has brought on Clinical Supervisor, Anna Thomas who will help clear waitlists and serve more people with mental health needs.

Each rider paired up with one of the nineteen horses on-site, ready to aid in the healing process.

“So the horse’s heart is about five times the size of ours. So the energetic field that is just emanated by the horse, just being, is unbelievable and unbelievably strong,” Thomas said. “So just by being around them, your energy level is brought up to match that. It can happen whether we know it or not but when we use it as a therapeutic tool in physiotherapy, mental health professional counseling it can be long lasting and it can be profound and I think that’s where some of the magic is.”

It’s magic that Stradley has found with her horse, Faith, and hopes others will feel as they slide onto the saddle.

“There’s something about experiencing peace within ourselves in the present moment that allows us to carry this peace through the rest of the week,.”


The plan is for the new arena to go up this July.

Healing Reins is still looking for help with this project as well as additional volunteers to assist as they work to double capacity.

For those interested in getting involved, contact alib@healingreins.org.


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