Unbridled Acres

* Winter Edition * 2016

Greetings from Unbridled Acres

The cold of winter is a beautiful season in the countryside. The wonderful blanket of snow we've received adds to the peaceful scene at the corral.

The horses are sometimes frisky with the cold but also settle in and are quiet and calm as the weather is in change. They don't fight it like we tend to.

We wish for warmth, for spring, for at least 50 degrees - but there is much to gain in ourselves by accepting life on life's terms not wishing it away for something different, or more to our liking. We know spring will come, it always does. The Good Lord doesn't surprise us and decide on a whim that this year Nebraska will have no spring, instead winter only for six months! It just doesn't work like that.

So, as Unbridled Acres has shut down until the warmth returns I want to encourage you to do the same. Shut down a bit - enjoy the quiet. Don't push for something different. Find the tranquility of winter and the blessings it can have on your life.

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2015 in Review

We had an amazing year in 2015. We hosted two women's retreats, Omaha South Greatness Academy, Memorial Community Hospital Management Team Building, Two T.R.A.C. Academy's for young teenage girls and dozens of individual, marriage and family sessions.

We lost our friend Eli and grieve his loss, but have found a new friend...Maggie. She is a golden retriever that is Chase's new sidekick. She will be a loving addition to our team.

Our beloved Arabian Annie has also moved on to greener pastures.

There are always changes, some we like and some we don't.

It's Our 5th Anniversary!

Unbridled Acres will celebrate its 5th year this spring. We are very excited about our program and the amazing healing power of Equine Therapy.

We hope you will continue to follow our work and refer your friends and family for life changing equine experiences.


That is about how much time you should spend strolling every hour to combat the harmful effects of sitting. In fact, a brisk walk could lower your rick of premature death by 33%. Set an alarm for every 30 to 60 minutes and take a lap around the office. When watching TV, use commercial breaks as a reminder to get moving.

Relax with Your Senses

  • LISTEN...to a song that makes you smile. Or even belt it out yourself for an emotional boost. "This stops your fight or flight response and releases feel-good chemicals," explains Ruth Curran, author of Being Brain Healthy.
  • SMELL...a calming scent. If your grandma's cinnamon buns always made you happy, open a jar of cinnamon and let the aroma usher in memories. It can make any unpleasant activity more tolerable.
  • LOOK...for a distraction. Anxious while setting the table? Home in on any object in the room (say, your curtains) and think about how many other types of window accents there are (blinds, valences, shutters), says Curran. That simple, distracting brain exercise can diffuse anxiety.
  • FEEL...how tense you are and make an effort to relax. For example, are your shoulders up by your ears? Have you been clenching your jaw? Take a 15 second inventory of your tense muscles, relax them and even give yourself a little neck massage.
  • TASTE...a little dark chocolate. Research shows the bittersweet treat can reduce stress while also dampening your body's production of cortisol (which ups your appetite) and epinephrine (which increases your pulse and blood pressure).

Keep Your Cool

When you're stuck in traffic, have a looming deadline or get into a silly argument with your husband, just let it go. Research shows people who react poorly to everyday stressors tend to have more inflammation in the body, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer and obesity.

"Each time a person experiences a spike in negative emotions, the stress hormone cortisol gets released," explains Nancy Sin, PhD, study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at Pennsylvania State University. "While that has an anti-inflammatory outcome in the short term, if it happens over and over, the body becomes less sensitive to its regulating effects."

When you start to tense up, take a deep breath and count in your head to distract yourself from racing thoughts. It also helps to call a supportive friend or relative to calm you down.

Effects of Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy on Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Youth

Researchers at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and at Washburn University recently completed a study funded by the Horses and Humans Research Foundation to investigate the effectiveness of equine facilitated psychotherapy (EFP) in the treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms in children and teens. The team led by principal investigator and Cummings School Research Assistant Professor Megan Mueller, Ph.D., and co-investigator Leslie McCullough, Ph.D., of Washburn University, also explored the effects of the human-animal bond on the effectiveness of the EFP program.

Participants ages eight to 18 were selected from a therapeutic treatment facility and placed either in a group of students receiving EFP or in a group of students who continued to receive the usual treatment from the therapeutic facility. Youth in the EFP program attended EFP sessions once a week for 10 sessions and all youth were asked to complete a brief survey at the beginning of the program, at week 5, and at week 10.

The unpublished data suggests that both the treatment and control groups experienced a significant reduction in the port-traumatic stress symptoms, and the human animal bond was correlated with reduction in symptoms for the treatment group.

These findings suggest additional evidence regarding the role of the human-animal bond in clinically based treatment, and could be useful in advanacing awareness of EFP as a viable psychotherapeutic intervention and promoting high-quality research assessing EFP as a treatment modality. Details at horsesandhumans.org.

Unbridled Acres Testimonial

I came to Unbridled Acres without ever working with horses before and that was a scary thing for me in the beginning. I’m pretty sure I spent the entire first session just trying to halter Princess and that really bothered me. In my first few weeks, I felt like I needed to be perfect at everything and just get the challenges done to say I did them instead of stepping back and seeing the real reason for the activity and what it was teaching me. But as the months went on, I changed so much.

I overcame fears and let go of things that I never knew even existed before. I accepted the real and beautiful me that God created and was able to look in the mirror and see her instead of the fake image of perfection that had been drawn in my mind. There wasn’t one time that I didn’t look forward to seeing Sue and being able to just sit and talk – most of the time it was just like having a normal conversation and that meant the world to me.

Being able to go to Unbridled Acres and connect with the horses was such a blessing! Sue has some great gifts to share and I truly believe that anyone who goes there will leave feeling like a new person; fearless and ready to take on any obstacle in life.

--14 yr old young lady

** Coming in 2016 **

Unbridled Acres * Sue Miller-Harsin CMSW, LMHP

A licensed marriage and family therapist since 1983, Sue Miller-Harsin specializes in women’s issues, post abortion, addictions and spirituality. She is a popular speaker at retreats and conferences throughout the midwest. She has volunteered with Project Rachel for the past 25 years. In 2014, Sue began traveling to Beijing, China, to counsel those affected by abortion. She owns Unbridled Acres, located in Blair, Nebraska. The facility is used for equine therapy, marriage, individual and family counseling, retreats and corporate team building.