K2 Equestrian Center Participates in Children’s Bereavement Camp

The K2 Equestrian Center recently participated in the 1st Annual Hospice of North Idaho Children’s Bereavement Camp, held at Camp Lutherhaven on Lake Coeur d’Alene in June.   Keith and Katherine Wacholz, owners of the K2 Equestrian Center, conducted equine and canine assisted therapy for 29 children at the camp.

K2 Equestrian Center Painting the Pony

Children take part in painting the pony at the Bereavement Camp.

The equine assisted therapy sessions help children express their grief through “horse painting.”  Children are asked to find a word or image that represents the grief they are feeling and paint it on the horse.  Once everyone has the opportunity to paint, the children symbolically wash their grief away, by sponging their artwork off of the horse.

“The horses absolutely love it — and so do the kids.  It a very powerful activity and a unique way for the children to connect to their feelings and move toward healing, ” said Katherine who is a national trainer for the Institute of Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC) and a certified grief and trauma counselor.

K2 Equestrian Center Chiildrens Grief Therapy

Quincy was the perfect canvas for kids to paint their messages of grief. Each child then symbolically “washed their grief away” with a large sponge.

The Center also provides therapy using their very large and very hug-able Bernese Mountain dogs, Hobart and Hogarth.

“The dogs play a comforting role for the children,” said Katherine.  “We share the stories of our horses with the children – of how most were rescued from abuse or neglect and then recovered with the ability to trust and love again. It can be difficult for some kids to hear those stories and having one of the big dogs to cuddle and hug helps.”

The Wacholz use this same activity to help others in need of healing, including victims of trauma, domestic violence and with troubled teens.

“It was a great day with the kids, horses and dogs,” said Katherine.

The next Bereavement Camp is scheduled for the end of July at Lutherhaven and is in partnership with the Spokane Hospice.  For more information please contact the K2 Equestrian Center at (208) 762-9891.

K2 Equestrian Center Keith and Katherine WalchozAbout K2 Equestrian Center: Keith and Katherine Wacholz have more than 30 years experience as special education teachers and work with a variety of special needs children and adults at their ranch, K2 Equestrian Center,  in Hayden, Idaho.  Both are trained in the Parelli Natural Horsemanship and Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).  Together with their nine quarter horses, five burros and Bernese Mountain dogs, they open their ranch to those who need a place to recover and grow.  The ranch is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization and all programs are offered free of charge.

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