“Otra Mas is Spanish for “another one” or “one more” and we strive to restore one horse, one person, one family or one group at a time back to wholeness,” says Katherine Holman. This is the goal at Otra Mas, a rescue that functions as a place of healing for both horses and humans alike.
Otra Mas takes in performance and work horses that can no longer perform their jobs due to aging or injury, saving them from euthanasia or being put out to pasture, an idea that is not as nice for the horses as it may sound. “Even though the picture of the horse grazing on the green grass in the large open meadow is pretty, to the horses, out to pasture equals abandonment. They feel rejected, shamed and lonely. They need people. They need to work,” says Katherine.
At Otra Mas, these horses receive a new career, becoming therapy horses in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning Programs. With over 55 years of experience caring for horses, Katherine and her team are able to provide shelter, rehabilitation and training for serviceably-sound horses. “My goal is to pave a smooth road for these horses and provide a safe haven so that they do not suffer in their later years,” states Katherine.
Otra Mas works with the military, various recovery homes and individuals of all ages in need of equine assisted psychotherapy. Their hard work and dedication have been featured in various newspapers and on CNN.
One story, written by Joshua Thaisen and featured in The Guardian, tells of a young woman named Sarah. Sarah was homeless by the age of 19, after a childhood filled with violence, abuse, trauma, drug addiction and mental illness. After entering Pathways to Independence, a program that offered her a place to live, access to education and a positive outlook for her future, Sarah enrolled in equine therapy program with Otra Mas.
Sarah had little experience with horses and had never participated in treatment options outside of medication and traditional talk therapy. “I was a little skeptical at first and I found the horses to be very intimidating. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had no expectations,” said Sarah. However, after several sessions with her partner, a horse named Chips, Sarah felt a marked improvement. She explains that “walking through her childhood” with the horses allowed her to put her pain in the past, and helped her identify the person she hopes to become. Sarah also noted considerable growth in her communication skills and confidence all thanks to her sessions.
Sarah is one of more than 200 people that have taken part in equine assisted psychotherapy at Otra Mas since it’s opening, individuals suffering from depression, anger management issues and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Use the information below to learn more about Otra Mas and donate to help their team continue the work they do for so many horses and humans in need of a little assistance.
San Juan Capistrano, California
If you are interested in loaning or donating 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: