Lifestyle

HARTH is a Healing Place on the Shores of Lake Buchanan

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Healing and Recovery Through Horses (HARTH) is a welcoming non-profit organization founded in 2015 by Sherry Atherton, a long time equestrian and business executive. Located northwest of Austin, in Burnet, along the peaceful banks of Lake Buchanan, the intent here is to facilitate healing and recovery with the aid of horses. It’s the only PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified center in the region. In the past five years, HARTH has provided relief to a multitude of veterans, veteran’s family members, children, and people with disabilities.

HARTH is a Healing Place on the Shores of Lake Buchanan

Photo Courtesy of Sherry Atherton

Therapy horses, volunteers, and community partners together propel Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies programs that offer daily appointments focused on mental health, social well-being, and quality of life for veterans and their families. In 2019, operations were expanded to offer certified therapeutic riding programs and equine-assisted learning programs for those with emotional, physical, and mental challenges. The impressive equestrian center is a full 16 acres, and there are three barns, plus a large covered, lit, and irrigated arena. A stable of 12 certified therapy horses is the heart of the organization, whose ultimate goal is to improve quality of life for both humans and horses.

HARTH is a Healing Place on the Shores of Lake Buchanan

Photo Courtesy of Sherry Atherton

Programs onsite are carefully curated and executed, with keen attention to keeping numbers low. These include Therapeutic Riding, Learning, Psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional, Veteran Programs which are free of charge to veterans and active duty service members, and private group sessions. For the horses, HARTH Foundation provides show horses a generous retirement sanctuary, with a full-care facility.

Looking to assist this wonderful organization? Take part in their campaign to replace arena lights or the fundraising game of horse Poop Bingo! Squares can be purchased online, then on August 20 at 6:30 p.m., log into Facebook to see if you’re a winner! The actual horses can be sponsored too. Volunteers are also needed! Social distancing is easy here as the property is quite large, and HARTH has a highly comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan in place.

HARTH is a Healing Place on the Shores of Lake Buchanan

Photo Courtesy of Sherry Atherton

Many who have entered with equine apprehension have thoroughly enjoyed the program; there is even a mini horse to begin the process! HARTH has an incredible facility with carefully vetted horses and meticulously trained staff who offer extensive encouragement, working with attendees at their own pace. Special thanks to President and Founder, Sherry Atherton, for her time with this interview.

Follow HARTH on Facebook or visit their website here.