Bullied and shy, “Z” rarely made eye contact. “A” struggled with anxiety and was often overwhelmed by her emotions. But the two girls found their voices at DreamCatchers Ride Inc., a Nebraska-based non-profit that offers a specialized brand of horse therapy.
As its name implies, founder Jodi Freeman credits a dream as the inspiration for the now five-year-old organization. She explained, “It helped me realize my horses were a gift and I needed to share them with others.”
Now a certified peer support specialist, Freeman and her equine partners help clients navigate and recover from a range of emotional traumas. She explained, “Often, the people who come to DreamCatchers have tried all sorts of other methods to address their emotional needs. We provide support in a way that doesn’t feel like therapy, helping them stretch their emotional intelligence and address emotional needs in a way that feels safe and very individual.”
Former client and current volunteer Addison knows the organization’s value firsthand. “The environment created by DreamCatchers made me feel safe, loved, included and heard,” she says. “The skills I developed through this program allowed me to take on leadership roles in other aspects of my life and become an example for those around me.”
She adds, “Animals don’t judge. They don’t bring preconceived notions to a relationship. Instead, they sense the good inside of a person and bring out your true self.”
Clearly, Freeman’s original dream has taken root, as she helps people leave their past trauma and pain behind, all with a little help from her equine partners and their incredible power to connect.