Shannon Paige stands with her dog "Charlie" and horse "Voodoo" at her ranch in Butte Valley. Paige offers animal therapy and is hosting a grand opening event for her new venture Soul Healing Horses. Trevor Warner - Paradise Post
There is just something about animals that calms the spirit. And in the case of Shannon Paige, animals can help heal the soul as well. That is why she began Soul Healing Horses, which is hosting its grand opening today.
With the help of her horses, she has helped adults and children get over fears and heal from emotional and behavioral wounds.
“The horse is the counselor,” Paige said Friday at her ranch in Butte Valley.
To start, she takes her clients into a pen with several horses. Horses can sense a person’s emotional or spiritual state and will approach, or “choose,” a client, Paige said.
“It really depends on what (the client) is going through,” she said.
If the client identifies with the horse, Paige begins working with the client on general horse care such as feeding, grooming and riding.
It is empowering, she said, especially for children to command a 1,000-pound animal. Some people are afraid to lead or even sit on a horse.
But after working with a horse, they break through their fears and it gives clients an overall sense of power and control over their own lives.
Regaining power over one’s own life is something Paige can relate to. She spent 19 years in an abusive relationship and has been sober for 28 years.
Though her trials, tribulations, therapy, and her relationship with God, she realized that she doesn’t need someone else to validate her.
“I know I have value. I know I am loved,” she said.
And that is the point - for the client to realize their own value.
She works with autistic and abused children, and adults including Veterans. The calming nature of a horse, and learning the basic skills it takes to manage a horse, can help those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manage the triggers they encounter in the world. The horses also help clients deal with grief, drug abuse and other dysfunction.
She said her greatest joy is working with youth and she will visit groups like Youth for Change and Skyway House to give those clients a chance to work with her animals.
The ranch also doubles as a horse rescue. She doesn’t just take any horse, however. She hand-picks the horses and brings them back to health so they can be used as therapy horses. She also offers canine and feline therapy because some people react better to dogs and cats.
For more information, go to soulhealinghorses.com