STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Providing Healing For Survivors

Riding Beyond uses horses and other therapeutic methods to help women cope and recover emotionally after their diagnosis. Many of the participants say the program helps restore them to a sense of normalcy and helps bring them back to themselves.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 5:53 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2018 1:52 PM

ROGUE VALLEY, Ore. — Many cancer survivors face the same question following their diagnosis and treatment — "what now?"

“Women recovering from breast cancer are in a bit of shock,” explains Patricia Miller, a breast cancer survivor.

Patricia, along with multiple other breast cancer survivors have all went through similar shocking experiences of facing the diagnosis of cancer but that isn’t all they have in common. Here in the Rogue Valley a handful of survivors have continued their treatment after all the physical check-ups are complete through Riding Beyond; a non-profit organization designed to help women recovering from breast cancer.

“I think most women are coming back around and being able to do some normal things and meet up with like-minded women, holistically minded women, much less, other survivors is normalizing,” says Patricia.

“It’s gives a totally different element to the standardize treatment venues that are available,” explains Colleen Dorr, who is also a local breast cancer survivor.

Riding Beyond uses horses and other therapeutic methods to help women cope and recover emotionally after their diagnosis. Many of the participants say the program helps restore them to a sense of normalcy and helps bring them back to themselves.

“Other sort of support groups hadn’t really done it for me,” says Colin Bunnell, a breast cancer survivor, “this was really just a different way of looking at what was important for me and my life.”

“Tears are often a part for everyone,” explains Riding Beyond Director, Trish Broersma, “they speak of having a sense of their larger story restored to them, a sense of purpose in their lives.”

Trish brought together her experience as a therapeutic riding instructor and her many years of work in human development to create the Riding Beyond program that enhances emotional healing through horses, particularly her horse Mystic.

Trish started the program after presenting at a conference in Prescott, Arizona. A woman who was also presenting at the event asked Trish to come listen in on her presentation and Trish obliged.

The woman’s presentation was about her own experience as a breast cancer survivor. She was in hospice and preparing to die when she climbed on the back of her one remaining horse and started riding, waiting for the end of her life.

To her surprise, her nurses started to notice improvements and she eventually beat the cancer. The only change she had made was getting on her horse.

“I was inspired by her story,” says Trish, “I came back home and enlisted one of my horses, Mystic.”

During training, Mystic caught on quickly, “it turns out she has a real calling for this work,” explains Trish, “I incorporated a number of other aspects for the program to go along with my experience in human development and body mass modalities and therapeutic horseback riding,” then Riding Beyond became a reality.

The heartbeat of the program is centered around survivors sharing their stories and experiences, “We use music, we use breath work, they connect to the horse and if they’re able, they get on the horse and ride the horse and experience that rhythm of the horses walk going through their body, which has a lot of neurological integration,” explains Trish, “they lie on the horses rump and experience a full body physical connection with the horse, which has a lot of physical and emotional benefits.”

“It sounds kind of amazing that all of that could happen just from sitting on the back of a horse,” says Colin Bunnell, a breast cancer survivor who has completed the Riding Beyond program, “I just think it really is quite amazing what happens and in the short time that we spent together.”

Riding Beyond doesn’t just impact the survivors who find healing but also the volunteers who walk through the process with them.

“It’s really fun to watch and it’s heartwarming to watch so I would say it probably helps the volunteers as much as it does the clients,” explains Mary Beth Watt, the Volunteer Coordinator for Riding Beyond, “To see the connection that the clients make, to see the way it impacts them, to find this connection is just beautiful.”

The Riding Beyond program is free for all breast cancer survivors and is made up of multiple sessions over a four-week period. The non-profit is funded by donations and ran by volunteers. If you would like to participate in Riding Beyond, either as a survivor or as a volunteer, you can find contact information here. If you would like to donate to the program you can find a donation link here.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 175121

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34937568
Washington23491229
Marion20195299
Clackamas15386204
Lane11591144
Jackson9923127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes712972
Linn416063
Yamhill410175
Klamath349059
Polk344252
Malheur342858
Josephine306362
Douglas304765
Benton273218
Jefferson207032
Coos197531
Columbia154526
Union141624
Lincoln130220
Wasco129128
Hood River112529
Morrow107915
Clatsop8958
Crook88019
Baker85814
Curry5959
Tillamook5813
Lake4137
Grant4124
Harney3066
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3718210

Reported Deaths: 61038
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122899723653
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2947794555
San Diego2749603674
Orange2689624896
Santa Clara1170812013
Kern1078591322
Sacramento1011721646
Fresno1005621646
Alameda853671477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa67019782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41157560
San Francisco36032523
Santa Barbara33896446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29696311
Imperial27987719
Kings22774245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16260239
Santa Cruz15571204
Marin13861226
Yolo13580200
Shasta11677217
Butte11573196
El Dorado9719109
Napa966679
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598663
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada445775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362551
Humboldt358737
Lake340943
Glenn235725
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
Medford
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 65°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 42°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 65°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 65°
Klamath Falls
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Staying warm this afternoon
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events