Breast cancer survivors offered opportunities with horses

Jan Lytjen discovers her kinship with Mystic through their life-changing, heart to heart interactions. Peggy Hawkins photo
March 24, 2022

Riding Beyond nonprofit seeks participants for upcoming four-week session

Breast cancer survivors are welcome to take part in free upcoming sessions where they are invited to interact with specially trained horses, the Riding Beyond nonprofit organization has announced.

A recent call for volunteers to help was resoundingly successful, according to organizer Trish Broersma, but more participants are needed.

Registration is open now for free four-week sessions from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons starting April 5 and 6 and continuing for four weeks. A series of May sessions will follow.

Carole Stella reconnects her ability to attend to her well-being through her conversations with Abby, a mustang in the Riding Beyond herd. Riding Beyond photo

The sessions are for women recovering from the rigors of breast cancer treatment. Participants may be recent or long-term survivors and thrivers, some as much as 10 years out. Heart to heart connections with horses (and a donkey) at Little Creek Ranch on Siskiyou Boulevard south of Ashland are interwoven with storytelling, music and poetry in lush, natural springtime surroundings to elicit enlivening new perspectives on the cancer experience, literally opening doors to the future for women to live with more purpose and well-being.

Here are words from participants at last year’s programs:

• “The power of horses to bring you to the present moment while spinning through seemingly impossible obstacles. Watching the storm, instead of being torn apart by it. Learning to dance in perfect choreography through the awakening of your senses … like listening to the ground to find your heart. This is my experience at Riding Beyond … A beautiful gift.”

• “This is a positive, life-changing program. The connection with the participants, knowing we have been through similar circumstances, the beautiful ranch, staff and the horses, nothing could have been better. This is truly an experience in opening my heart to love.”

Ann Marie Ramsey shares poetry that she wrote for Mystic Moon, one of Riding Beyond’s horses. Riding Beyond photo

• “Every layered detail of the program is designed to empower us to connect safely, heart-to-heart, with these enormous, magnificent beings. The sessions are educational, deep, fun, and exhilarating. Poems, stories, sharing within the circle, all weave through each session, making it a holistic healing experience. Horses have woven their way into my sleep-time dreams as well! Please accept this offering. You will be delighted.”

Anyone who knows someone who might qualify for Riding Beyond should know that encouragement from a friend to sign up is what usually makes the difference for participants, according to Boersma.

Videos and details are available at ridingbeyond.org/participating.

Contact Broersma with questions or to sign up via email at ridingbeyond@gmail.com or phone at 541-482-6210.

Source: Riding Beyond news release. Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at betling@ashland.news or call or text him at 541-631-1313.

March 28 update: Headline that mentioned “riding sessions” changed since participants, due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, do not ride the horses, as that requires that a volunteer come in contact with the rider.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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