Horses are unique because they offer a pure, nonjudgmental relationship to the client. A horse’s instincts cause the animal to live in the present moment and react to immediate surroundings; therefore, a horse often reacts to the mood and behavior of the participant. Whereas a dog loves unconditionally and a cat loves quite conditionally, a horse’s behavior is always honest.
Psychotherapy incorporating horses offers clients struggling with depression, low self-esteem or anxiety the opportunity to engage in authentic connection. The concepts learned in developing a relationship with a horse can be easily translated to developing healthy relationships with others.
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential form of mental health therapy that uses interactions with a horse (equine) to facilitate individual growth and relational healing. Board-certified therapists use experiences with a horse and personal reflection to achieve the participant’s therapy goals. Individual, family and group sessions are offered and can include riding or working with a horse on the ground.
Psychotherapy incorporating horses at One Heart Stables began in 1995 as a service to the children in the residential center on the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio campus in Wooster. The program has expanded to serve children and adults in the general public. Our mission remains to improve the quality of life for our clients through compassionate equine-assisted therapy.
Our team looks forward to hearing from you and helping you achieve your goals. Most insurances are accepted.
Who can benefit?
Children and adults with the following challenges can benefit from participation in EAP:
Depression, anxiety or trauma disorders
Relationship or communication problems
Sensory processing disorders
Melissa received her Bachelor of Social Work from Youngstown State University after completing her Associate’s in Human and Social Services from Stark State College. Melissa specializes in equine-assisted psychotherapy, which pairs her love for horses with her desire to assist individuals achieve their goals. Melissa loves seeing the relationship that individuals can experience while working with horses and utilizing their strengths. Melissa began riding horses at ten years old and enjoys jumping and trail riding. Melissa is married to her husband Ryan and enjoys traveling, camping, and experiencing nature.
Melissa McMullen, BSW, LSW
Interim Program Manager & Equine Therapist
McKenna graduated from Lake Erie College with her Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Facilities Management. In addition to her degree, she also received her Certification in Equine Massage Therapy. McKenna oversees the equestrian facility and the care needs of our animals. McKenna loves being able to share her love of horses and love for Christ in the work she does in the barn. McKenna grew up riding horses and is still riding and competing in the sport of Dressage. McKenna enjoys trail riding as well as spending time with her horse Romeo.
Krista studied psychology and youth ministry at Malone University and obtained her Master’s degree in Community Mental Health Counseling at The University of Akron. Krista specializes in equine-assisted psychotherapy, which combines her love of horses with her passion for serving others in Christ’s name. Krista grew up on the back of a horse and was a competitive rider in the sport of eventing when she was younger. Krista enjoys jumping, trail riding, and just spending time at the barn with her horse Oscar. Krista is married to her husband Luke and has one horse and two cats.
Krista Overmire, MS, LPCC
Christine received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Christian Counseling from Liberty University and obtained her Master’s in Social Work from Simmons University. Christine specializes in equine-assisted psychotherapy and is Natural Lifemanship trained. Christine loves combining her passion to help people heal with her lifelong love of horses. In her youth, Christine showed pleasure horses and spent as much time on the back of a horse as she possibly could. Christine is married to her husband Tony and has five children and three grandchildren. Christine enjoys trail riding, training her youngest horses, and walking half marathons with her friends.
Christine Jones, MSW
Deanna graduated from Malone University with her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. She previously worked in CCHO's residential program for 3 1/2 years and is excited to work with OHS as an equine therapist. She has been riding and working with horses for most of her life and started showing horses in her early twenties. She enjoys going for a nice trail ride in the fall or spring and soaking in all the marvels of nature. In her professional career, she loves the connections people can make with animals and her passion is helping them understand how they can use that connection to develop better connections and relationships with other people. Deanna is married to her wonderful husband Jacob and together they have a cat named Ranger and a dog named Astrid, a licensed therapy dog who loves making people happy and getting belly rubs.
Deanna Schmucker, BSW, LSW
Jen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Findlay where she double majored in Western Equestrian Studies and Psychology. Jen went on to pursue her master’s degree in counseling from Ball State University. She has worked as a therapist for 20 years and is passionate about helping people and incorporating animals into the healing process. Jen loves working with individuals, families and couples. Her work focuses on the mind and body connection and helping individuals grow within themselves and in their relationships with others. Jen enjoys riding horses and began riding in her early teenage years at a Christian horse camp. Since that time her love for horses has only become stronger. In her spare time, Jen enjoys spending time with her two daughters, being outdoors kayaking, running and skiing and listening to country music. She also adores her therapy dog, Brooklynn, who is a blue Great Dane.
Jen Sunday, LPCC-S
Meet our team
One Heart Stables is utilized by the youth in the Children’s Residential Center at CCHO as well as children and adults in the general public for equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP). Our therapists are certified instructors in equine-specialized therapy, and they are eager to help you achieve your goals. Learn more about our caring team below.