Horse therapy program in Scottsdale lacks funding to provide services to first responders

Hunkapi says first responders from all walks of life, including those who suffer from traumatic injuries, addiction, PTSD or other challenges go to the farm.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 8:15 AM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Valley first responders may soon have trouble finding access to life-saving therapy as a Scottsdale-based nonprofit says a lack of funding has forced them to stop offering first responder services at its popular therapy horse farm known as Hunkapi.

According to Hunkapi, first responders from all walks of life, including those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries, addiction, PTSD or other issues, come to the Scottsdale ranch to deal with prolonged mental health problems, oftentimes associated with their high-stress jobs.

“Building the coping skills for stress, understanding that their job is stressful and how to handle that, building better relationships with their spouses and their family,” Executive Director Terra Schaad told Arizona’s Family in that report.

Hunkapi offers a variety of programs but has been forced to stop offering services to the one program for first responders due to a lack of funding.

“The program was a form of healing that was quite literally bringing these heroes back from the brink of suicide,” the nonprofit said in a plea for donations earlier this week. To donate, people can head to and choose the general fund.

Hunkapi Programs provides a wide array of services, including therapeutic riding, counseling, emotional regulation, team building, and addiction recovery. Most of the lessons come from the horses, who gently guide clients toward greater mindfulness of self and others. The name is taken from a Native American word that means “I am related to everyone” and expresses the deep sense of connection between horse and human.