Book Buddies

An outdoor animal-facilitated literacy program

Repeated practice reading aloud is one of the best ways to improve literary achievement in children. Our program Book Buddies aims to improve students’ confidence, increase opportunities for literacy practice, and encourage a love of reading by directly pairing students and equine partners. Our horses serve as non judgemental partners for the students. Their comforting presence helps normally hesitant or struggling readers reduce their stress and anxiety about making mistakes, in order to increase confidence and motivation. In turn, the student’s voice calms the horse, giving the student a sense of purpose, connection, and reciprocity. By giving students the opportunity to build a relationship with a horse through reading out loud, we hope to increase students’ motivation, confidence, and fluency in reading so that they can become lifelong readers. 

Individual Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy at Medicine Horse Center is a 6-week adjunct therapy to support and reinforce what primary therapists and the client are working on. It is not intended to be long term therapy. With the support of a licensed therapist and equine professional, experiential sessions allow for clients to explore and practice new healthy thoughts, behaviors and patterns. Brain-based regulation skills are introduced and practiced every session. Although we are on a self-pay system and do not bill insurance, we are happy to provide a billing statement for clients to submit to their insurance.

Please contact us at or 970-533-7403 to discuss your or your client’s needs. Thank you for your interest in our services!

Professional Development Trainings

Medicine Horse Center offers a comprehensive suite of professional development trainings. Your organization can pick from the menu below or tailor a day at Medicine Horse to fit your needs. All trainings combine hands-on time with our horses, use of mixed media arts, and experiential learning activities.

Trauma-Informed Care – Virtual or On-site

This training is grounded in an understanding of how the effects of trauma and toxic stress impact the physical, emotional and mental health of people, and especially youth. Strategies given help promote a culture of safety, empowerment and healing. If taken on-site, unmounted work with the horses assists participants in understanding the trauma brain and practicing staying grounded when confronted with the fight, flight or freeze response in others. Participants will leave with strategies for specific behavioral and programmatic challenges and leave with ideas to implement in their particular programs. 

Behavior Management Strategies – Virtual or On-site

This training compliments Trauma-Informed Care and highlights strategies for challenging behaviors. Learn how adults escalate behavior and identify strategies around de-escalation, avoiding power struggles, problem solving, working with apathy, responding to challenging behaviors, and more.

Combined Trauma-Informed Care & Behavior Management Strategies (On-site)

Spend the day at Medicine Horse with your team and immerse yourself in understanding behavior and learning effective strategies to respond in a consistent and compassionate way that promotes physical and emotional safety. The training involves unmounted work with horses and culminates in applying strategies learned to a vast array of scenarios tailored to meet the needs of the group.

Walk the Talk: Embodying Trauma Informed Care and Managing Burnout

We will reflect upon our motivation and desire to work in the programs and roles that we do. Participants will explore what gets in the way of responding in challenging situations, strategies to show up more effectively to support our clients, and clarify our own reasons for doing the work we do. This training will utilize a trauma-informed lens, in action! How do we embody the principles we strive for? How do we address vicarious trauma and avoid burnout, all while doing meaningful  and challenging work.

Wellness Days

This training is all about keeping  ourselves in balance as we do valuable work! Come play, create, and relax with Medicine Horse Center! We’ll cook you lunch while you spend some time reconnecting with joy. You’ll leave rejuvenated to dive back into your work. We have offered wellness days for a variety of professions, including teachers, school counselors, and non-profit employees.

Teambuilding & Retreats

Looking for a way to reconnect with your staff after spending months working from home virtually? Need a space conducive to strategic planning or visioning? Medicine Horse Center is the perfect setting to intentionally connect as an organization. Our facilitation team can tailor offerings to fit your specific goals. 

What participants are saying:

“The trainings offered by Medicine Horse staff about Trauma Informed Care and Behavior Management are invaluable.  The information and practices give me the tools to be a better program facilitator, parent, and human being. “  J.L., – Montezuma Land Conservancy

Yes, it was helpful. It is one of the best Behavior Management trainings I have ever attended! You are really great at what you do.”   A.A.- School Community Youth Collaboration

“I wanted to pass a long a HUGE thank you for last weeks training, and for hosting us at Medicine Horse. In the few days since the training, the leaders and myself have been implementing and reflecting on lessons learned. You had a massive impact on all of us and I really cannot thank you enough.”

T.D. – Southwest Conservation Legacy

“They did such a phenomenal job! I’ve been to quite a few Trauma-Informed trainings and this one was one of the best yet. It’s a heavy topic and can be triggering, but she did great at keeping it light and getting the information delivered.” B.F. -Pinon Project Family Center

“Working with the Medicine Horse staff, including the horses, was an amazing experience for my professional and personal growth.  Not only were we given an array of tools and techniques, Karen helped us understand the spectrums involved with trauma and traumatic stress.  This consists of environmental factors that we do not see or experience that contribute to behaviors. It gave me a whole new outlook when working with my target population. We were also given an amazing opportunity to focus on our own skills to promote self-care and composure.  This included stepping out of our comfort zone at times.  The training involves information as well as physically participating in practices that left me feeling rejuvenated and energized to continue my work with a growth mindset. We even got to spend time building and enhancing our connection with the horses. I really enjoyed working with every member of the staff at Medicine Horse and can easily say that it was the most impactful training I have experienced thus far.”  S.G. – Pinon Project Family Center

Team Building

Experiential team building programs are tailored to each group’s unique needs and goals. All programs are facilitated though a trauma-informed lens where challenge by choice is honored.


Our half-day Transitions Program is designed for groups of up to 24 students (a classroom) to acquire coping skills to manage the stressors of changing schools (elementary to middle and middle to high school). While building stronger peer connections and improving communication skills, activities consist of unmounted work with horses and creative problem-solving tailored to meet the teacher and students’ goals. 

Why Medicine Horse?

Traveling to a new place, meeting new adults, and participating in the unfamiliar and unexpected challenges at Medicine Horse Center establishes a wonderful metaphor to help students process and plan for their new school. 

Experiential learning activities can help students: 

  • Verbalize concerns, see they are not alone, and develop a plan
  • Step outside their comfort zone, develop confidence, recognize and build on their strengths
  • Learn skills for making new friends and resisting peer pressure
  • Learn and practice self-regulation skills that decrease anxiety and increase self-control

Why horses?

What a horse needs:

Calm energy




Clear communication


How students benefit: 

Learn and practice self-regulation skills

Find their voice and build confidence

Live in the moment with kindness and empathy

Awareness of actions and consequences

Awareness of body language, messages and intent 

Feel a part of something healthy

R U AWARE? Video series

Medicine Horse Center created the R U AWARE? video series as a way to connect with youth online. Each of the videos, 2-5 minutes in length, highlight important social-emotional topics through engaging and interactive lessons with the horses. Strategies and prompts are included to assist caregivers, educators and counselors in continuing the conversation. The R U AWARE? series provides tools in making positive connections with others, handling peer pressure, managing stress, and among others, staying grounded and positive in these uncertain times.

Video Lesson Topics

  • Respect
  • Connecting with Others
  • Regulation Skills
  • Rights & Responsibilities
  • Showing Gratitude
  • Mindfulness with Horses
  • Finding Your Strengths
  • Self-Control
  • Empathy
  • Waves of Emotions
  • Self-Talk
  • Courage
  • Tolerance
  • Getting Along
  • Peer Pressure
  • Curiosity
#2 Lessons From a Horse
#3 Respect
#4 Connect with Others
#5 Growth Mindset
#6 Rhythm & Drums: Part 1
#7 Rights & Responsibilities
#8 Gratitude
#9 Mind Full vs Mindful
#10 Find Your Strengths
#11 Rhythm & Drums: Part 2
#12 Self Control
#13 Empathy: From a Horse’s Perspective
#14 Waves of Emotion
#15 Habits & Horses
#16 Self Talk
#17 Tolerance
#18 Courage
#19 Outdoor Adventures
#20 Getting Along
#21 Peer Pressure
#22 Rhythm & Drums: Part 3
#23 Curiosity
BONUS: Staying Safe

Buy R U AWARE Video Series

The full series will be shipped on a dedicated USB drive.

Cost: $40

What educators, counselors and caregivers are saying

“Great videos! You are so creative in your approach to helping during this tough time.” A.R. Curriculum Director/Educator

“SUPER COOL”  T.O. Parent

“I have so appreciated the R U AWARE video series! It has helped several of my students.” D.P. School Social Worker

“Oh, my gosh! Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! I can’t wait to share this with our team. I just love this video series. Nice work!!!!!!  Video 2 was the first one I watched! I loved it! I was eager to watch the rest after that one.” K.B. Natural Lifemanship Institute

“The kids loved the video and was so much needed levity in these ludicrous times.” C.C. Parent

“These are FANTASTIC! I’m sending them to staff now. Thank you so much!” C.E. Elementary Principal

“Oh my gosh! Today’s video is precious! Thank you! I love the connection with our 4 legged friends overcoming challenges too. The variety of ages of kids is awesome. Your videos this morning have helped get me out of my monotonous rut. I’m ready for my day now with a better frame of mind. Thanks.”  C.L. Clinical Director Axis Health System

“You are helping lots by your good videos! Appreciate your good reach to others!” S.M. Parent

“Love your videos so much!!  Makes me so happy!!! Thanks for sharing! Keep on drumming!!” M.O. Natural Lifemanship Institute

“This is going to be a fantastic resource – thank you so much for reaching out to our students!” K.L. 5th grade teacher

“Thank you to all involved and their contribution to the social and emotional well-being of our children during this time! This continued dedication and commitment to helping children grow in insurmountable ways is truly inspiring. As an elementary principal, and mother of three I am grateful for the support our children have received! Thank you to Karen Finch, the horses, and the Medicine Horse family!“ K.G. Elementary Principal/Parent

A.W.A.R.E. Youth Program

Developed by the Medicine Horse Center and aligned to the standards of the American School Counselor Association, A.W.A.R.E is a 6-week social-emotional experiential learning program for small groups. We believe awareness is the first step towards creating positive change in our lives:

Actions, Words, Accountability, Respect and Empathy

Through creative and engaging activities with the staff and horses, A.W.A.R.E. has emerged as an effective program that continues to show improvement via student self-evaluations and teacher observations in the areas of confidence, communication, respect for others, empathy, problem solving and the ability to self-regulate.

What students are saying about A.W.A.R.E.

“It is helping me with self-control and my confidence and a little respect. They put a lot of effort here.” 5th grade boy

Medicine Horse has helped me a lot. It helped with my stress and got my mind off of my sadness.” 7th grade girl

“It has helped me with feeling better about myself and focusing on my future.” 8th grade girl

“I have been more aware and more accountable because I take responsibility when I have done something bad.” 7th grade boy

“It has been effective because now I can start to respect people more than I have before.” 7th grade girl

“Everything has changed since I came here. My outlook on life is so much more positive.” 10th grade girl

“Being here has made me calm, gave me good coping skills and reduced my stress.” 11th grade girl

“It helped plenty. I would come every day if I could. It’s helped me remember that there are people who care and it’s given me a sense of hope.” 9th grade girl

What educators are saying about A.W.A.R.E.

“I feel that Medicine Horse helped this boy find his happiness again. He showed confidence when earlier in the year there was only anger and resentment.  I think this program brought back a kiddo that might have otherwise been lost.” A. R. Dolores School District

“Prior to visiting Medicine Horse, our student was very argumentative and confrontational and felt ‘singled-out’ by his behavior. When asked to leave the room to calm down, even for a break or a walk around the pod, he would become very upset. After visiting Medicine Horse, he would still exhibit impulsive behavior, but his response to being asked to correct his behavior was much more positive, and pleasant. He would also make requests or ask for alternative choices or tasks as a method responding to behavioral corrections.” L.N. Cortez Middle School

“Our student experiences strong emotions that she acts on with physical aggression or back-talk. Prior to her experience at Medicine Horse, she had a very hard time letting another student ‘have the last word’. After Medicine Horse, she still struggles with impulsivity, but overall still seems to be able to contain her feelings of frustration or anger better. She has also become more productive at school.” L.N. Cortez Middle School