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Our Lady of Peace Expands Equine Therapy Program - Archived


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Barbara Mackovic, Senior Manager, Media Relations
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Our Lady of Peace Expands Equine Therapy Program
Therapy provides benefits to children’s behavioral health

Louisville, Ky. (October 20, 2015)— The Kosair Charities Children’s Peace Center at Our Lady of Peace, part of KentuckyOne Health, has expanded its hippotherapy and equine therapy program, Riding for Peace, and hopes to reach more than 200 children each year.

Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy that uses equine movement to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input. Our Lady of Peace also uses equine assisted therapy, which involves learning to interact with the horse through tasks, like grooming and feeding, in order to improve communication, problem solving and relationship building skills.

The Riding for Peace program was first piloted at Our Lady of Peace in 2014 and has reached about 80 children to date, but many more are on the waiting list. A therapy horse, Cowboy Cadillac, comes to Our Lady of Peace one day each week to provide sessions for patients.

With the help of the WHAS Crusade for Children, Louisville Youth Philanthropy and an anonymous donor, paddocks for the horses have been installed on the facility’s grounds and a pavilion has been partially converted into a horse barn. Funding will also cover added equine transportation and training fees, among other needs. In addition, Eagle Scouts Troop 4 from St. Agnes Catholic School provided construction of a mounting ramp for the kids. Funding was provided through the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.  

“Our staff has observed amazing benefits and positive changes in the children who have participated in this program,” said Jennifer Nolan, president of Our Lady of Peace. “We are extremely grateful to the generous donors who have made it possible for us to expand and reach more children. Riding for Peace is unique in this inpatient psychiatric setting and it is a wonderful tool for our therapists as they work to address the needs of our young patients.”

An individualized session and therapy goals are developed for each child in the program. Each session provides one-on-one therapy time with the patient, occupational therapist, horse and its handler. Participants work on skills specific to their needs including: gross and fine motor skills, balance, body awareness, following directions, divided attention, building self esteem and developing compassion, empathy and trust.

“Participants in the equine program have experienced significant improvements in challenging behaviors, self esteem, impulsivity and gross motor skills,” said Maggie Moffett, occupational therapist, Our Lady of Peace. “The benefits from the program also translated to other environments inside the hospital.”

The Kosair Charities Children’s Peace Center at Our Lady of Peace serves children with severe emotional problems and special needs. More than 3,000 children have received care through Our Lady of Peace in 2014. Of those patients, about 90 percent suffered some form of abuse or neglect and more than 75 percent are medically indigent. Many have been removed from their homes and are in the custody of the state.                     

To meet the needs of these patients, Our Lady of Peace is committed to providing unique treatment options, like Riding for Peace, to help adolescents find healing

About Our Lady of Peace
Our Lady of Peace, a part of KentuckyOne Health, is a private, not-for-profit psychiatric hospital in Louisville, Ky.  The hospital was originally founded in 1951 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and is currently operating 223 beds, one of the largest in the nation. The Kosair Charities Children’s Peace Center at Our Lady of Peace is the largest and most comprehensive private provider of child/adolescent inpatient psychiatric care in the country.  Our Lady of Peace operates a full continuum of psychiatric services for patients from young children to adults.  There are specialty programs for children and adolescents who have complex treatment needs, such as intellectual or developmental disabilities; forensic issues for females; and/or co-occurring substance use issues.  Patients come to Peace from all over Kentucky and the surrounding region, visit

About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health, the largest and most comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth, has more than 200 locations including, hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved.  The system is made up of the former Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System, along with the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.

Publish date: 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015