Rhonda Ferrell

Rhonda Ferrell

Testimonial Letter:
Dear Mary,

I want to thank you for all that you do at Sonflower Stables.  As a professional working with clients with varying degrees of mental health and developmental disabilities, I am in awe of the breakthroughs that I have been fortunate enough to witness at your facility.  Every client and co-worker that has had the opportunity to utilize the Equine Therapy sessions with you have been dramatically impacted in the most astounding ways.

Personally, I would like to share with you the impact that I witnessed in a couple of my clients.  My co-workers have shared similar experiences with me but I will touch on my own for now.  I want to impart this to you because you may not realize the huge impact your sessions have on my clients because you do not know their background prior to them coming to meet you.  I can say that the unique and individualized sessions you offer have broken more ground in an hour then I have made working with some clients over months.

The very first client I brought to the stables is 31 years old but has about a five year old aptitude level.  He has frequent violent outbursts and unpredictable mood swings and trouble interacting with others in a positive way.  He has a short attention span and struggles to accept authoritative direction.  Yet, from the moment we stepped onto the property he was enamoured with the horses and was completely at ease around them and with you.   It was simply magical to watch the transformation as he took your directions and applied them to what you called “horsemanship”.  The particular horse that he worked with that day was so gentle and responsive and in turn my client was SO proud and surprisingly SO focused on the simple tasks you guided him to perform.  The grounding technique that you taught him at the end of the session was the most mind-blowing for me.  The emotion that he gave forth at the end of that lesson was something I will never forget.  To see tears streaming down his face with what I interpret as “letting go” for lack of a better description brought tears to my own eyes.  It wasn’t sad or angry tears as he sometimes shows but rather he appeared to be so grateful and at peace.  He always asks about you and about the next visit he will have to “see the horses”.

The next client I would like to touch on is a 21 year old female with a history of extreme trauma and abuse.  She suffers from ADD, anxiety, depression and PTSD.  This client does not do well with following through on appointments or commitments and does not do well with taking authoritative direction.  She has huge trust issues and I can say that you broke more ground with her in one session than I have made working with her since July of 2016.   The first day we arrived she was in a state of anxiety and wanted to back out of the session.  I was able to negotiate with her on the premise of just meeting you and not having to go any further than that.  When we walked into your warm atmosphere we were greeted by your bunny whom you referred to as “Mr. Orange”, the “Receptionist”.  My client was immediately put at ease as you introduced her to the bunny and showed her how to pick him up and hold him.  It gave her such comfort to sit and hold that bunny while you both got acquainted.  It struck me then, how uniquely individualized your sessions are because they are based completely on the sole needs of the individual.  Later, during the session when this client made a connection with a particular horse, it astounded me to witness the information you were able to interpret about and to the client…again with no prior information from me.  The most amazing part of this is…since she has started coming to the stables, she has started opening up to me as her prime worker so much more than ever before.  The sessions have started to open the door for deep healing through the bond that she has made with “her horse” and the safety she feels within the stables and within your guidance.  Although she has not made every session, I am astonished in the level of commitment she has established with the Equine sessions.

Further to the positive impact that Sonflower Stables has had on the clients I would like to speak to the ripple effect that I have witnessed in my co-workers.   For those clients who don’t have the funding to pay for sessions, your generosity in allowing us work along side our clients as volunteers to interact with the horses and do chores has brought new skills and tools for us to use during support.  My co-workers continually share their excitement and amazement in the response and breakthroughs they are seeing in their clients.  One co-worker shared that one young man was having suicidal ideation and was also in need of drug rehabilitation.  After a session with you he exclaimed “F” rehab, this is the place for me!  She feels that the work he is doing at the stables has literally saved his life.

Mary, I would like to express my admiration and gratitude for the work that you do.  I am in awe of the connection that I have witnessed between horses and humans and the depth of healing that can be made in such a short time span.  Thank you for the tools that you have equipped myself and my co-workers with in order to better serve our clients.  Although we met in a professional capacity it has been a tremendous growth experience for me personally.


Rhonda Ferrell
Justice Worker,
St. Leonard’s Community Services