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Retraining the brain about rhythm and movement


A horse is a powerful physical therapy tool. Its natural movement assists those with movement dysfunction and helps strengthen the mind/body connection, and provides sensory input for individuals with sensory processing disorders. 


Equine-assisted occupational therapy (hippotherapy) uses the natural movement of the horse as a therapeutic tool. Our occupational therapist partners with the client’s physician to develop a detailed plan. These goals are documented and reassessed after each session. A therapy horse is chosen specifically for their particular movements to match the client’s goals.  

After a traumatic brain injury, the rhythmical movement of the horse helps to rewire neural pathways for better communication between the brain, spine and muscles — increasing mobility, independence and the opportunity for a greater quality of life. This might look like gaining or regaining the ability to walk, having greater core strength to sit upright, or being better able to verbalize and communicate.

“When you're on a horse's back, you’re receiving movement,

and movement is freedom.”

– Courtney Sumpter, Occupational Therapist and NMET Founder  


NMET ”Sensory Trail”


Occupational therapy sessions can be held in the indoor or outdoor arenas, or on the NMET Sensory Trail. This is a rich learning environment of woodland paths that consist of slopes, turns, varied footing, natural sights, and sounds, and man-made "activity stations." This integrated environment challenges the client‘s balance, stimulates their senses and encourages them to achieve their therapy goal.


Activity stations are therapeutic stopping points along the trail that offer clients the opportunity to see, hear, smell, touch and talk about the items they encounter.


HorseSense Program 

Healing invisible scars


NMET provides a unique opportunity to experience the healing nature of a horse in a safe, noncompetitive and nonjudgmental setting. Through hands-on therapy sessions, clients are surrounded in an environment that radiates calmness, values the hard work that comes with horses, and  provides a literal and mental breath of fresh air.  


A horse mirrors emotions, reads nonverbal cues and reacts to the body language of humans. When these equine instincts are professionally incorporated as a self development therapy tool, the horse-human  connection becomes a powerful healing force, helping clients to realize their own self-worth and  increases self-awareness of body language and communication skills.  


“I love this place and will never leave. It is the only thing

that works for me.”

– NMET HorseSense student  




Horses don't judge


The transformation at-risk youth experience working with horses is profoundly life-changing. Regardless of what happens outside NMET’s facility, when you are here, your horse will not judge you. You can be “you.” The time and lessons learned during your time are meant for you and you alone.  


YOU WILL CHANGE, and as you experience these changes, you will find the lessons learned through your HorseSense experience can have significant effects on your anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or other invisible scars that have had you trapped. We only ask you for one thing — that you take the confidence you create for yourself through your therapy horse outside our facility and into your everyday life. 


"When you are tense, let me teach you to relax. When you are short-sighted, let me teach you to see. When you are short-tempered, let me teach you to be patient. When you are quick to react, let me teach you to be thoughtful. When you are angry, let me teach you to be serene. When you feel superior, let me teach you to be respectful. When you are self-absorbed, let me teach you to think of great things. When you arrogant, let me teach you humility. When you are lonely, let me be your companion. When you are tired, let me carry the load. When you need to learn, let me teach you. After all, I am a horse.”   

– Author unknown 




You don't have to heal alone


Sexual assault comes in many forms. These traumatic events ravage body, mind, and soul, creating waves of pain and mistrust in possibly every area of life. Your trauma was not your fault — your healing is a journey, but you do not have to heal alone. Our goal is to create a safe, non-judgmental environment with real-time experiences that help improve your coping and relationship skills and enhance your overall quality of life.


The SAVA HorseSense program is designed to use equine assisted activities to help survivors work through common symptoms of trauma, such as trusting oneself and others, PTSD, anxiety, depression, self-worth, and relationship issues. Horses make incredible teachers, listeners, and partners through the hard work of healing and growing. The horse partnership guides survivors through activities that promote self-awareness, communication, boundaries, and ultimately how to lead from within. The  outcome will empower survivors with the tools to practice and learn how to overcome fear, recognize self-limiting ways of thinking and acting, create boundaries that empower, promote self-esteem and the confidence to achieve, and develop healthy relationship skills.  


"You are not by yourself, there is nothing to be ashamed of and healing is a journey — one that does not have to be done alone.” 

– Larissa Boyce, NMET SAVA HorseSense Director

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