Join us to learn with the Horses

Lapwai Equine Assisted Program for Life Enrichment

Perhaps you’ve seen the LEAP flyers posted around town, in the newspaper, or you visited our booth at the Women’s Wellness Fair at the Clearwater Casino in May. If you are curious to learn more about this horse program or how you and your family can participate in the Lapwai Equine Assisted Program, read on.


Nimiipuu Health Behavioral Health started LEAP as a way to expand life enrichment services for the community. Our afterschool program began in May with an adolescent girls group. As well as lots of smiles, the comments we have received from participants include, “We love it”, and “Its great to be with the horses again.” Our Equine Assisted groups for Parent/Guardian and younger kids, and a group for young men are planned to start in June.


We practice a variety of activities, starting out with simple observation, understanding non verbal communication, establishing safe and healthy boundaries, then expanding to hands on work with the horses, and supported riding activities. There is an emphasis on enjoying being outside learning from nature, the horses and each other. Expressive arts and creativity are part of this learning model for positive social change.


The program is offered free of charge and transportation will be provided from Nimiipuu Behavioral Health office to the horse location. Our outdoor classroom is in Spalding with the Chief Joseph Foundation Appaloosa horses. LEAP is a compliment to the other great cultural, horsemanship, and riding programs available in the community. Our session’s focus on horse guided human transformation. Opportunities to succeed are created within a positive present moment focused experiential learning model. Our team consists of Counselors, an Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor, the kids, and of course the horses. We create a supportive environment where a therapeutic alliance develops between the all of the participants. Horses are treated as equal partners in the process.


Scientific evidence now confirms the healing effects of being with horses. As well as lowering blood pressure, and reducing stress cortisol hormones, horses help us form strong relationships built on mutual respect and understanding. Being around horses increases feelings of curiosity, optimism, and creativity. They can also help us to be motivated and improve our ability to learn. Healthy communication, emotional expression, and relationship skills are developed through horse heart connections. All of what is learned with the horses is transferrable to the rest of our lives at home, school, and in the community. Close interaction with horses promotes mental, emotional, and relational balance. Participants have the opportunity to develop inner strength, leadership, cooperation, and community-mindedness. Join in the fun.

This article was written by LEAP co-facilitator by Linda Kingsbury, PhD, who is an accredited EponaQuest™ Equine Facilitated Learning Instructor and Equine Specialist for Mental Health and Learning. She is a member of PATH Professional Associated for Therapeutic Horsemanship, Appaloosa Horse Club, and CADCA Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America.