Quiet Reach Farm: Treating Addiction with Horses

By Mallory Lane

Published 06/04 2014 05:42PM

Updated 06/04 2014 06:23PM

HOWARD, CENTRE COUNTY - A local woman is finding a new way to help recovering drug addicts.

Drug addiction is a major problem across the nation and here in our region. As the number of overdose deaths continue to rise across our state, experts are working to find the answer to the problem, but a local woman may have already found it.

"I would feel lonely in a crowded room, nothing ever seemed to quite make sense," Catrina Nevel, of Lock Haven, said. "I remember the first time I drank, I was able to almost break out of my shell and be a different person. Then, it just escalated from there."

Nevel started young. Now, she's a recovering addict. For years, she turned to drugs and alcohol to hide her depression and anxiety, until she was 28.

"When somebody said, you have the disease of addiction, I thought, addiction isn't a disease," she said.

It was the wake up call she needed to seek treatment. But doctor after doctor, one therapy session after another, nothing seemed to stick, until now.

"It's just so quiet out here, so peaceful, I don't feel judged," Nevel said.

Bobbi Harpster has raised horses for more than 30 years. She's the owner of Quiet Reach Farm, located in Howard, Centre County.

"I think from being around the horses and seeing how they helped me and everything, I wanted to reach out to help other people using the horses," Harpster said.

They're everywhere you turn; 17 of them to be exact. The horses are the medicine Harpster's clients use to heal.

"A girl that came, I believe she was on heroin, she took the donkey up one of the mounting blocks," Harpster said. "She got it to climb up the mounting block. She said that's the first time in her life she's ever accomplished anything."

It's an emotional journey for everyone, including Harpster and a journey Nevel credits with saving her life.

"She doesn't solve your problems for you, she gives you the tools and you work through your issues and you do it on your terms," Nevel said. "That's one of the most amazing things."

Since participating in Harpster's program, Nevel has stopped smoking, cold turkey.

Harpster has clients from all across Central PA, even from out of state. To learn more about Quiet Reach Farm and the services they offer, visit their website.

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