INDEPENDENCE, Ky. — For years, the folks at Milestones, Inc. have been offering therapeutic horse rides that help people process grief, stress and different traumas by forging a connection of the equine variety.
“They will mirror the environment,” Milestones, Inc. program director Rachel Breeden said. “They know how to help teach you calmness – to speak softly – to breathe slower.”
That’s just the kind of medicine Marcia Erickson, a clinical nursing supervisor at St. Elizabeth in Fort Thomas, said she needed.
“I’ve been there 30 years, and it’s definitely the hardest thing health care workers have encountered,” she said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
As a nursing supervisor, Erickson said she’s been a sounding board for her frontline employees – something that she said sits heavy on her heart.
“As well as talking to a lot of families that couldn’t be at the hospital to be with their loved ones when they were so sick,” she said.
When your job is to give aid to those who need it, sometimes self-care can get lost in the shuffle. That’s one reason St. Elizabeth booked time at the Milestones barn for team members who want it.
Erickson said forging a bond with Opal, has been a gem of an experience.
“It gives you something else to focus on – a little time to focus on selves,” she said. “Anytime you focus on something beautiful, like a horse, that brings you to your heart.”
Erickson said she plans to return for a little creature comfort – and hopes other coworkers can find a similar peaceful paddock perspective.
“More than anything, going forward, I wish everyone peace,” she said.
Erickson said she believes a little help from the horses can help employees who’ve been through so much this last year.
St. Elizabeth booked 10 more sessions at Milestones, Inc. for eight employees at a time.