Okmulgee County Therapy Services Using Horses To Achieve Mental Health Goals


Sunday, August 1st 2021, 5:51 pm


OKMULGEE, Oklahoma -

An outpatient therapy service in Okmulgee County is helping people reach their mental health goals through horses.

Overcross Counseling and Equine Services head instructor Kimberly Whayne says she tries to instill the words 'I am, I can, I have, I will,' in all of her clients.

Whayne specializes in using horses as an alternative approach to the standard sit-down therapy session.

Overcross services range from individual or family counseling to group sessions where kids learn leadership skills.

But Whayne also says she wanted to make going to therapy fun, so she combined her love of helping others with her love of her horses.

"If you don't want to go to the traditional office to get your therapy, you can come here," Whayne said. "You can come out here, we're going to work through things and a lot of people always say, I can't believe I just talked to you about that."

Mariah Payne is one of the riders and says although controlling the horses was a challenge, she would do it all over again.

"You have to bond with someone to be someone's friend, just like you have to do with a horse," Payne said.

Whayne also says she tries bringing in African American kids to introduce them to horseback riding and the country lifestyle.

She says she knows it means more than just horseback riding and that her hope is that the small-time they were together, will impact them for a lifetime.

"I tell people I don't work a day in my life because I absolutely love seeing the transformation that happens in my clients and my community's life," Whayne said.