Horse Therapy for Depression

“The horses showed me that I keep everyone at a distance by not allowing them near me.  As I started changing my behavior, the horses changed their own. I never even realized I was so anti-social and depressed.  My entire quality of life is changing right in front of my eyes.”

While traditional horse therapy focuses on people whose injuries at physical, at Wildfire Ranch we specialize in healing wounds of a less tangible nature. As the above testimonial from an Iraq War veteran who suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggests, the emotional therapy that Wildfire Ranch offers has the potential to transform lives. Our horses work with those suffering from depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts, rage, and other emotional hardships.

What to Expect

Our guests are first introduced to the horses and matched to the one of their choice. Exercises include brushing, saddling, leading a horse by rope, commanding a horse to back, turn and jog; feeding and caring for the horse, understanding horse behavior and finally, riding the horse in our outdoor arena and even out on mountain trails. Our exercises are exactly the same as those used by the famous Horses Helping Heroes using horses to help veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Breaks are taken during which time teaching is provided on the healing power of horses as well as the healing power of God.

How Do I Sign Up?

Therapy sessions are $40/hour with adjustable payment plans for lower incomes. We believe that the important service we offer should never be out of reach for someone in need.

For information and to receive a registration packet, feel free to get in touch with us. You may receive your registration packet by post or by e-mail, whichever you prefer. All registrants will be required to sign a waiver/release form.

Registration is limited to 5-6 guests at a time. Separate sessions are available by special request for divorcing couples, neglected/abused children, troubled teens, and other groups.

Want more time with our horses than just a few sessions? Come to our ranch for a Week-long Horse Therapy Retreat!

Not sure horse therapy is for you? Hear how our horses have helped others:

"Please visit Wildfire Ranch and take a trail ride! They use their horses to heal people from depression, anxiety, and sadness. The power of God works through their horses to heal. On a personal note I have suffered with anxiety since I was little. Since visiting the ranch I have not had to take any of my anxiety medicine! WE had so much fun and it was so peaceful. The rates are very reasonable and no one is turned away because of their financial situation. So do yourself a favor and get out in nature, relax and take a break from your busy schedule. Enjoy yourself!" Tara Tressler, Bellefonte, PA
"I am a military veteran and did 2 tours in Iraq. After I returned I was diagnosed with severe PTSD. I heard about Wildfire Ranch through my Army center so I thought, 'Well the pills ain't doing it so why not?'. My first therapy session Cynthia walked me right into the pasture with 12 horses. Every single one of the horses immediately walked away from us and for some reason that made me angry. I said, 'Look at this! I can't believe it. Every one of them is walking away from me'. Cynthia explained that the horses were reflecting what they sensed in my heart – an alienation from everyone in my life to 'Stay AWAY from me'. But this isolation caused depression and anger that was severely aggravating the PTSD and making me miserable. Despite my quick-trigger temper outbursts Cynthia calmly explained to me that the horses were trying to tell me to let down my guard and allow at least one person into my heart. I did just that and called a buddy who did time with me in Iraq and started staying in touch with him and even hanging out together. I called Cynthia a few weeks later and told her, “This ranch is changing my life.” I can't stop thinking about the horses and the ranch and would recommend every veteran go to Wildfire Ranch at least once." Mike Steinham, Bellefonte, PA
"I am a college student attending PSU for law. I scheduled a horse therapy appointment with Cynthia because of depression, anxiety and despair. I have had Tourettes syndrome most of my life and it caused me to be suicidal in my early teen years. I have struggled with low self-esteem since then. Three therapy sessions later and I realized that I was so used to being a victim I had not even realized that I was successfully overcoming challenges in my life. I had not even noticed that I was not a victim any longer! I signed up for horse lessons and now I am proudly shareboarding Glory shown on the website. I can honestly say that Wildfire Ranch has effected my life so much that I turned down an internship in Texas to be closer to my horse home." Stephanie Guild, State College, PA
"I volunteered with my church youth group out at Wildfire Ranch one Sunday and I was amazed and fascinated by the horses. I asked Cynthia if I could visit regularly to help out with the labor. She gave me trail rides whenever possible and my family started seeing a huge change in me from my Wildfire visits. I am 17 years and have had some suicidal moments, some severe depression. Working with the horses at Wildfire Ranch has literally changed my entire life. The confidence and joy that it's brought to me has extended into all other areas of my life." Clayton Brown, State College, PA
"I know it's been a while but I didn't forget about you. I think the best thing I learned from coming to the farm is that no one knows me better than I do. You told me that your ranch was magical. That something just happens to people after they spend time there. I have to admit, my luck is NEVER that good. EVER! I figured you had a challenge in me. But if it worked...... well my thoughts just never made it that far. Well, your ranch accepted the challenge. After applying to many jobs and going on numerous interviews, I was ready to give up. I was finding jobs I thought I was perfect for and wasn't getting them. I had enough money to last to the end of the month and I was getting 8 hours a week at my job that I hated. So the day after I've given up the phone rings. It's the employment service. She tells me about a job and when could I start. It is 10 minutes from my house, hourly pay that I needed and the hours are great! But I refuse to get excited. It can't be that perfect. So I go on Monday, no interview, just show up. I'm in my 3rd week and it's great! Everyone is so laid back and doesn't get in my personal business. So maybe you were right after all. I've always loved horses and riding and now I believe in the power of the herd." Jodi, State College, PA