Lisa Rivers founded the nonprofit organization, Equine Rehabilitation Central Texas (ERCT), in 2012 to rehabilitate horses that have been rescued from abuse and neglect. At ERCT, they rehab horses with supplements, highest-quality hay and feed, and lots of love. After the horses are physically healthy, staff and volunteers at ERCT work to heal the horse mentally and emotionally.
To do this, they use Parelli Natural Horsemanship. This method helps the horses learn to trust humans, see them as leaders, and heal emotionally. Parelli Natural Horsemanship not only helps horses, it teaches people as well. The volunteers learn how to communicate with the horses in a trustworthy and understanding way, allowing both the human and the horse to build trust and self-confidence.
This method reflects ERCT’s mission – “people and horses helping each other.” In fact, three years ago, Lisa started a therapeutic horseback riding program called Hopeful Hearts Therapeutic Riding. This organization is currently helping 60 people with developmental and mental disabilities. Riding and interacting with horses allows them to heal in a non-threatening, peaceful environment. It benefits both the horses and the people.
After horses are rehabilitated and retrained at ERCT, the horses are adopted and rehomed, or they can stay and go into the therapeutic horseback riding program. Any horse can go into the riding program. Right now, they have horses in a variety of breeds and sizes – from Haflinger pony to large warmblood horses. In a recent interview with Lisa, she said “our greatest success is giving rehabilitated horses an appropriate job with our therapeutic horseback riding program.”
Another success story Lisa shared with us was about a recent rescue. Three horses were waiting at the Kaufman kill pen – waiting to be shipped to Mexico to be slaughtered. They were supposed to go out on Saturday, but luckily, on Friday afternoon, just in the nick of time, Lisa and ERCT stepped in and saved those horses.
Lisa said “all three of those horses seem to really appreciate being on safe ground and with safe people.” She also told us that the Texas Stars Foundation recently provided funding to help care for two of those horses named Tex and Star. That same foundation has also provided funding to start a second veterans equine program. These veterans with PTSD or head injuries will now be able to experience the power of horses.
Organizations like the Texas Stars Foundation and Lisa’s organizations are made possible through volunteers. Lisa says they have a strong volunteer program, and many of the horses are adopted by the volunteers. Though ERCT has wonderful volunteers and staff, they also have challenges.
Their biggest challenge is funding. It is very expensive to physically and emotionally rehabilitate horses. Lisa says that “if we had more funding we could rehabilitate and rescue many more horses.” You can help ERCT on their journey to help horses and people by checking out their website below and donating today.
Equine Rehabilitation Central Texas
Cove Leander, TX
If you are interested in loaning or donation your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here. Then, post your comments below to help out!
Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles: