True Stories: Remarkable Horses Bringing Miraculous Change to Humankind

by Michelle Holling-Brooks with photographs by AJ Morey

Inspired by her own childhood trauma when she spent seven days in a coma, awakened to a severely compromised body and brain, and rebuilt her life with the help of a horse, Michelle Holling-Brooks founded Unbridled Change, a non-profit organization that helps provide a place for finding hope, healing, and growth.  Here she shares amazing stories of the people she’s worked with and the “horse cure” that changed their lives.

Survivors of trauma, loss, illness, abuse, stress, and depression can face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But today, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that horses play a crucial role in therapy for those struggling with significant psychological and emotional challenges. Horses respond to angry, inhibited, heartbroken, defiant, terrified clients in many different ways, often breaking through defensive barriers via their physical presence, or by pointing to areas of psychological distress not immediately apparent. The horse’s response guides the treatment team, as well as the client, in the healing process.

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100% of the proceeds of the book go directly to Unbridled Change
to support our scholarship and horse funds

Praise for The Horse Cure

“Finally, a book that captures the quiet and not so subtle power of the horse to human connection. This is a must read for anyone who loves horses and wants to understand the growing field of equine assisted psychotherapy. Masterfully written, a refreshing perspective…”

Rebecca Bailey, PhD, Director of Transitioning Families,Advisor of JAYC Foundation, author of Safe Kids, Smart Parents

“Out of her own challenging healing journey, Michelle has crafted a powerful account of her personal recovery and restoration to function with the help of horses.  Her experience drove her to study further what I language as Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.  Michelle’s book offers meticulous case notes on a variety of patients navigating the trail to health with the help of Michelle’s seasoned herd and professionally trained human staff.  I especially appreciate how she weaves the various professionals into her client sessions for the purpose of developing a whole picture of the whole person. The significance of relationship building with first a horse and then one’s self is emphasized.  The engagement of an individual’s desire to change involves mental, physical, emotional and spiritual intention; the horses provide the fuel and catalyst for shifting perspectives.  As one of Michelle’s clients said, ‘you can’t make this stuff up’.  Reading accounts of successes is very rewarding.”

Barbara K. Rector, MA, CEIP-ED; Adventures In Awareness, LLC; Equine Director, Hacienda at the River IN THE PRESENCE OF HORSES

“Yet another ‘equine therapy story book?’ This is way more than that. The Horse Cure immediately became required reading for my therapists and horse professionals here at our equine therapy program, to support and share ways of working with clients affected by trauma. The Horse Cure is an intelligent, thinking person’s guide to Equine Therapy, for those who need both theory and practice of how this work works. Michelle’s own journey is poignant, and I’m delighted she’s written this amazing book, for practitioners and lay-people alike. Bravo!”

Shannon Knapp, author of More Than a Mirror: Horses, Humans, and Therapeutic Practices, and Founder/Equine Specialist at Horse Sense of the Carolinas, Marshall, NC


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