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What Our Clients Are Saying

“Shalom Park is truly grateful for the benefits that Equine Elders has brought to our elders throughout this year. While our organization had several years of past relationship with the Equine Elders Program, Mary has given us this wonderful opportunity in 2022 to expand the program with her grant-funded service extending its therapeutic experience to more residents and providing consistency compared to previous years. I have witnessed the true value of these non-pharmaceutical therapeutic interventions for our elders, making them come back to life and

getting respite and relief from living with various diagnoses of dementia disorder. Through her carefully designed and curated equine therapy activities that incorporate sensory stimulation, social interaction, and educational opportunities, Mary’s Equine therapy addresses physical, psychological, social, and emotional wellbeing of the elders participating. Mary and her volunteers are always a delight to interact with and visiting her facility with our residents always feels authentic and welcoming making our elders at ease being able to fully immerse in

interacting with the horses. Without the financial burden and limited budget from our side, more than 20 elders have enjoyed this program often participating in multiple occasions. As a music therapist myself, I am a firm believer of this multimodal approach to therapy which provides many benefits to the older adults population with dementia that includes decrease in depression, social isolation, anxiety, and both physical and psychological pain that are

experienced by our elders. We look forward to continuing this program with Mary and give support and recommendation to her program’s growth and outreach to any other long-term care facilities in our community. Thank you again for this opportunity.”


San Baek, MM, MT-BC

Director of Resident Life

Shalom Park

Our residents at St. Andrews Village have enjoyed their time going to the Equine Therapy Program, with Mary Slouka. We are consistently asked when we are going again and the residents come back and talk about how much fun they had with the horses and appear to be more relaxed after this outing.

One of our residents sits in his chair and doesn’t say much, interact or smile. However, on the first day we went to see the Equines the smile and joy that appeared on his face was amazing. I showed pictures to the staff here at St. Andrews Village and they were amazed. He also has shared stories when he was a child growing up on the horse ranch. When I tell him, we’re getting on the bus to go see the horses his face lights up.

Another resident who has dementia and has a hard time remembering day to day events, she always remembers the day we are going to this program. She calls it her “little piece of heaven.”

A gentleman who receives hugs from the horse he is working with is always brought to tears. These are not sad tears, they are tears of joy and happiness. There are two ladies who have high anxiety and when they see and start brushing the horses they both appear to be more relaxed and upon returning to the community are relaxed for the

rest of the day.

The Equine Elders Program has brought much joy and happiness to our residents and they are

looking forward to when the weather will warm up and we can return.


Joelle Boehler

Community Life Associate

St. Andrew’s Village

Dear Mary,

On behalf of Chelsea Place, we are so pleased with your program. It creates such a calming environment for our Elders. They are engaged with grooming and games and just being present. I notice when we are back in the community everyone seems bright and alert and much more social with each other. I have elders that don’t normally talk too much but after we are home, so much chatting all around! Thank you so much for sharing your dream with us!!

As winter approaches we will miss our therapy days, but maybe we can sneak a few in with extra warm blankets!


Jeannie Combs Life Engagement Director

The elder equine program run by Mary Slouka, In Parker Co. Is an incredibly wonderful opportunity for our seniors at Shalom Park to participate and receive much needed recreation therapy/equine therapy.

As a recreation therapist I understand the benefits of interaction with animals especially the horses on Mary's ranch. Mary is very thoughtful and has a well thought out program. Each visit undoubtedly brings positive outcomes to those we bring to her ranch. Some of those positive outcomes are improved socialization, and participation. You can see their affect change (lots of smiles), depression decreases, physical and cognitive abilities are improved along with an increase their quality of life. Since this grant was approved, we have been able to increase the number of elders who participate in Mary's program as most are unable to pay for this type of therapy on their own. It's my hope that Mary can continue this program with further grants and donations.



Gina Schmidt, CTRS-MS

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