Naples, FL (August 18, 2020) Youth Haven children and teens had the opportunity to attend Equine Camp at the Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) during the week of August 3 – 7, 2020.

According to NTRC’s website, “Equine-facilitated Learning (EFL) is an experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills for educational, professional and personal goals through equine-assisted activities.” Given the traumatic backgrounds of Youth Haven’s children and teens ages 6 – 19 that have been removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment, neglect or are homeless, forming connections and trust with others can be difficult. The horses provide a way for our youth to interact in a way that feels safe and free of judgement! During the camp, the trainers discussed physical cues that told them if their horse was happy, sad or angry. This provided a mirror for the kids to reflect on their own behaviors, feelings, and triggers.

Also during camp, they learned how to care for their horses through grooming, cleaning the stables, feeding the horses, etc. The act of caring for their horses taught empathy, responsibility, and independence. Riding is a component of the program and is often the most anticipated activity; however, it can also be frightening because it requires trust and attunement between themselves and their horses. During the riding process, the kids were faced with situations in which their horses may not behave exactly as they would like them to. This increases cognitive flexibility, impulse control, and builds problem solving skills. For details on the program, visit

“Youth Haven is extremely grateful for our amazing partnership with Naples Therapeutic Riding Center! This was a wonderful experience for our children and teens and we’re thankful for the opportunity,” said Jinx Liggett, Youth Haven Executive Director.

About Youth Haven
Youth Haven, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency, is Collier County’s only residential emergency shelter for boys and girls ages 6-19 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Youth Haven is a COA nationally accredited organization, a member agency of the United Way of Collier County, a Naples Children and Education Foundation grant recipient, and has been in continuous operation since 1972. For more information, visit, like our Facebook page,, follow us on Twitter, @YouthHavenCS and Instagram @youthhaven.

Back to list