UNICORN RANCH is a home of LORANE UNICORNS PROGRAM for pre-teens and an OUTREACH PROGRAM for children of various ages, who want to know more about horses and for seniors and persons, hospitalized or in the nursing home, who enjoy and benefit from having a visit from a pony or coming to the ranch on an outing.
The UNICORN PROGRAM started in Hawaii in 1980. It relocated to Oregon in 1990, and has been active here ever since. The program was developed on the foundation of data, indicating that animals and humans have a special relationship, which was found to be beneficial in developing better ability to communicate, learn coping skills, acquire confidence, learn to relax and build better self esteem. Introducing pets to long term care centers, people with physical or behavioral (such as prison inmates) issues has been shown to have positive effects. Children particularly benefit whether they are involved individually or in a horse program.
For the mounted part of the program, LORANE UNICORNS can accept only pre-teen children due to taking in consideration the well-being of the horses. Each horse has a weight limit it can carry.
Program activities are aimed at improving confidence, coordination, ability to focus on a task and stay with it, and other important daily life skills, such as not giving up and always trying your best, taking both winning and losing in stride. Art and music are also used as means of self-expression and communication. Participants learn to reconnect with nature, acquire a more active lifestyle after contracting video games and computer addictions or “couch potato” lifestyle.
Participants learn about horses, including how to properly groom, tack, ride and control a horse. Interaction with a horse helps to provide students with a bonding experience. They learn how to make a “friend”, and this ability can then be transferred to people. Relaxed by their gentle “friends”, the students become more open and spontaneous, sharing information and feelings about family, school and different issues. In cases, where the program participant is also seen by a therapist, the information, with parent and child’s permission, is shared with the reffering therapist.
Essential for group and individual activities are the “sidewalkers.” These volunteers watch out for the student’s safety, help plan sessions and observe changes in students to help evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Older students or the family members can become “sidewalkers”, an arrangement that benefits them both.
For more information we encourage you to read HORSE FACILITATED THERAPY book, available on AMAZON. Or you may order a hard copy from us. Please visit our BOOKS page to find a full list of books we offer with descriptions.
At UNICORN RANCH we actively participate in community service.
Katarina Cernozubov-Digman, Ph.D, is a director and coordinator of the LORANE UNICORNS PROGRAM.
Katarina is licensed as a clinical psychologist in 1980 in Hawaii; she had training in Europe and the US. She was on faculty at the University of Hawaii, graduate faculty at the University of North Colorado and Antioch college West, and worked for University of Oregon Counseling Center. She participated in research projects of the Institute of International Studies, University of California and Department of Anthropology, Berkeley, California. Katarina was co-recipient of a National Association for Mental Health research grant. Katarina was a first responder for American Red Cross. Katarina founded the Woman’s Counseling Clinic in Honolulu, Hawaii and had an extensive private practice. She was also a State Chairperson for NARAH for Hawaii. Katarina and her therapeutic riding program were recipients of various awards, such as: Department of Health, Department of Justice, First Lady Award and commendation from President Clinton, as well as United Way Award for the program’s volunteer. Katarina’s work in therapeutic riding was widely featured in numerous newscasts and newspaper articles. She is an author of a number of research articles and books.
Katarina is fluent in Russian, French, Serbo-Croatian, and also can communicate in Italian and Spanish. And over the years the program provided services to different non English speaking groups.