Tara came to Murphy-Harpst as a teen, after suffering from years of neglect from absent parents. She often had to care for her siblings, and had no support or care coming from relatives. Often left alone for days, Tara grew withdrawn and would often turn to self-harm. Her neglect resulted in extreme emotional sensitivity as well as left her several grade levels behind her peers.

Tara came to Murphy-Harpst to develop communication skills, to discover her self-worth, and to learn to trust adults. At first, this was very difficult. Being quiet and shy, Tara felt like she didn’t belong anywhere. She had difficulty communicating her feelings which led to frustration and outbursts; but she found solace in the equine therapy program. Tara learned that although she could not communicate her struggles to her therapist yet, she could connect with the horses. Every time she had a free moment, Tara was down at the Horse Barn taking care of the horses.

Eventually, Tara began to open up to her therapists and started the healing process. After over a year of clinical therapy and educational remediation; Tara was ready to rejoin her family. There was no more need to self-harm, as she had grown to see herself as a worthy and loveable person. She learned that the horses loved her no matter where she came from, and that her Murphy-Harpst family would be there for her no matter where she was going.

Now, Tara is thriving at home with family members. She recently graduated high school, and is planning to go to college to study Communications. A regular visitor at Murphy-Harpst, Tara can still be found down at the Horse Barn. When Tara grows up, she hopes to be an equine therapist to help children like her one day.

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