Resource Elements

  1. A story of how a woman’s determination to change her pain, together with pain science concepts dramatically changed her life.
  2. A brief glimpse at the similarity of emotional stresses in people and horses, and how their different sensitivities can be mutually beneficial in healing.
  1. Medication side-effects can sometimes significantly affect overall health.
  2. Her brain caused pain in the past to protect her from past adverse events and continued when there was no longer a real threat.
  3. Learning pain science concepts gave her insights to change her opinion of her pain, by not focusing on her pain and sickness.
  4. Her two goals of: choosing to be with other people and to create a program where horses and people could help each other heal from past emotional stress, were the motivation to change her life.

Cindy Orr, a young woman who started a horse rescue program, tells her story of multiple adverse events in her earlier life and the relationship between her recovery and how her horses help people recover from adverse events.

Repeated traumatic experiences from the age of 3 and on into her adulthood shaped Ms. Orr’s life. She was frequently ill and in pain. Eventually her diagnoses included Lupus, PTSD, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, pain, anxiety, and depression. She was taking 16 medications and seeking advice and education related to pain management.

About five years ago she was at OHSU for medical tests related to sky-rocketing blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. She experienced “the biggest turning point in my life” as she worried about who would take care of her 40 horses and 17 dogs if she died, then decided to recover to be able to care for them.

When she got home, she carefully read her medication labels and was shocked to realize how all their side effects affected her PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Ms. Orr focused on learning more about the links between trauma and pain as she got off all but her blood pressure medication. Given the understanding that pain was how her brain was protecting her from PAST threats, her sense of safety reassured her that she could increase her on-going activity level. She even began to jog for exercise.

Ms. Orr began Linn County Animal Rescue in 2008 and now runs a monthly “Healing Hearts with Horses” program. With her new sense of being “grounded,” she was able to shift her focus from sickness and pain to set goals to be around people and to help other people benefit from being with her horses.  Every month people with PTSD, physical disabilities, autism, and other mental/social/physical issues are welcomed to her stables.

Please click on the link to open this 4-page PDF in a new widow: 1024-Horses-Helping-People

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