Valley Village’s Saturday recreation program provides meaningful engagement for Valley Village’s group home residents. For the first time since March 2020, residents are slowly returning to Saturday recreation activities. Valley Village staff are taking residents to Rancho Tujunga, where they can interact and engage with horses. Residents who visit the ranch benefit in many ways.
First and foremost, residents gain an awareness of the horses and their environment. Residents learn to work in groups with the horses. They learn to show compassion for the horses through nonverbal cues such as watching and listening to what they are doing. They gain spatial awareness working with a large animal and understanding how the horses move. They learn how to give appropriate verbal commands and directions to the horses. With many Valley Village group home residents visiting the horse ranch three times a month and maintain interactions with the horses, they become more and more conscientious of the horses and each other. It teaches them how to care for something outside of themselves.
Spending time with the horses is calming and tranquil for Valley Village group home residents. Horses have an innate sense of healing. They are empathic and good for our residents. For example, residents helping groom the horses provides a calming effect for both horse and resident. In addition, when riding a horse, its heartbeat often syncs with its rider’s.
Valley Village’s group home residents engage in activities and learn from their time at the horse ranch in other ways. Some enjoy feeding the squirrels and other small animals at the ranch. Residents increase communication skills and learn how to give commands. They learn the colors and markings of horses. They also learn to compare a horse’s body to their own and point out differences and similarities.
Rancho Tujunga is a historic site, located in Sunland, and was the last stop before Barstow for the Wells Fargo Stage Coach. It is located at 11900 Big Tujunga Canyon Road, Tujunga CA 91042. Visit the website for more information.
Valley Village programs take a person-centered approach to support the whole individual, including physical and mental well-being. Each individual participates in setting goals, working with caregiver support to achieve goals, and to live independently as possible. Learn more about Valley Village programs at valleyvillage.org