‘Riding Beyond’ sign-ups for volunteer training and free sessions

ASHLAND, Ore. — ‘Riding Beyond’ has opened sign-ups for volunteer training and registration for its free April and May sessions.

NBC5’s Lauren Pretto met with the Riding Beyond founder and executive director Trish Broersma talking about the importance of what she called Equine Assisted Human Development.

March is Women’s History Month and what better way to celebrate the strength and perseverance of women than to talk about Riding Beyond, a program that helps breast cancer survivors heal with the help of some equine friends.

Twelve years ago, Broersma attended a conference of a woman who was in hospice from breast cancer treatment. Broersma said she supported two of her close friends who were diagnosed with breast cancer as well. When the woman said she healed through her connection with her horse, Broersma knew what she had to do next.

It had never occurred to me that my horses could have helped them. I came back inspired to offer this to the Rogue Valley with my horse Mystic.

Since the program’s first two participants, Broersma says Riding Beyond has grown immensely. Now her program not only helps breast cancer survivors but also anyone who is struggling.

Over the years, we’ve added other horses, and especially because of the pandemic we’ve expanded our audience more intentionally to people who’ve had traumatic stress with the pandemic and Almeda Fire.

Broersma says their core program, a four-week free session for breast cancer survivors, starts mid-April. She says they also have training for volunteers available starting March 12. Broersma says they have these sessions and volunteer training because they want to raise awareness that a person’s battle doesn’t end once they’re out of the hospital.

Often when people have a traumatic experience like breast cancer, or treatment, or other things, they’ve pulled into themselves, and then when they’re better they don’t know how to reestablish those connections. And the horses teach that.

Broersma says everyone knows someone who is struggling and needs extra support. She says she has a lot of pride for the horses in her program that give people that support that they need to heal.

I think my proudest maybe happiest moment is when we give space for the horses like Bo here because it’s really about allowing them to do their magic.

Broersma says the Riding Beyond program has many events throughout the summer and fall. You can find out more about the program by going to http://ridingbeyond.org.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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