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Therapeutic Programs at DLB Ranch in Cottonwood

03/25/2020 05:00AM ● By Emily Miranda

Healing & Horses

April 2020
By Emily J. Miranda
Photo courtesy of DLB Ranch

Healing through horses is the goal of this Cottonwood-based nonprofit. For years, DLB Ranch, Inc. has used horses to help people who seek improved spiritual, emotional and physical health.

Under the guidance of certified equine specialists, horses are DLB Ranch’s secret ingredients to human healing and development. It is more likely for a person to build trust and confidence through equine-assisted therapy than traditional therapy. The animals tend to keep people calm and focused, which helps to break down barriers and insecurities that might otherwise get in the way of the healing process.

The ranch’s equine-assisted therapy programs have proved beneficial for those struggling with mental, emotional and behavioral issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder and families in crisis.

The ranch also offers equine-assisted learning, which uses horses to gain insights into human nature. Activities – including simply having fun with the horses – can help participants establish boundaries and improve problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

“I am a Red Bluff High School counselor who brings students to DLB Ranch as part of youth circle support group activities,” says Darbie Andrews, a DLB Ranch board member.  “I discovered DLB while teaching at Salisbury High School, a continuation high school in Red Bluff. I was looking for ways to give students a healing and calming experience and I found it at the ranch.”

Working with horses has been shown to improve emotional awareness, self-esteem, empathy and stress tolerance. Andrews says the ranch has positively impacted not only her students, but also one of her own family members, “I’m an adoptive parent who has taken my adopted son to the ranch to do activities that help improve self-esteem,” she says. “There’s a magic that happens with the horses that I haven’t seen in any other place.”

There is something within the animal nature that can give humans a sense of security; it is common for people to open up with animals before they open up to another human. At DLB Ranch, equine-assisted applications have offered learning experiences and therapy sessions that people will find nowhere else. The ranch has catered to an array of individuals and groups seeking help, from local veterans and support groups to at-risk students. 

“As part of a support group for Paradise students who were forced to move to Red Bluff due to the fire, me and fellow counselor Sofia Harris took the Paradise students to the ranch,” says Andrews. “The students said being at the ranch reduced their anxiety. The horses have a calming effect and assist in creating bonds.” •


DLB Ranch

17596 South Lake Road, Cottonwood

(530) 347-9902 • DLB Ranch Inc.