Local social worker helping others through equine therapy

Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 24, 2016

Amber Burkhardt-Sidebottom is a licensed clinical social worker who owns Bridgewater Support Services in Manchester, Michigan. With the help of her beloved horses, she offers services in mental health and personal growth. She grew up with horses and was also an equestrian.

"At some point, I started to realize what I had learned from the horses and what a great opportunity that was as a kid... even as an adult. They still teach me things every day," she says.

Bridgewater Support Services is on the same farm where Amber grew up. She uses horses to help kids and adults who are struggling with life's challenges. She has clients ranging in age from 5 to people in their 20's.

"I think it's a less threatening way to look at ourselves," she says.

She adds that horses pay attention to their environment, they're intuitive and that can help open doors.

Craig Paxton's two daughters have been going to Bridgewater Support Services for the last year for help with their self-esteem.

His 10-year-old daughter Emma says the horses "help calm me down. As I kept coming here, they kept on trusting me and that helps make me feel more confident."

Craig Paxton says, "It's done wonders" for both his daughters.

Yvonne Dickerson says traditional therapy hasn't worked for her 14-year-old daughter.

"She has lots of diagnoses in her past... starting with being on the autism spectrum. She primarily deals
 with depression, anxiety and self-esteem issues," she says.

Dickerson says coming to Bridgewater Support Services has been life-changing thanks to Amber and the equine therapy.

"She actually verbalizes how she's feeling. Now, she recognizes something made her mad, sad... it's a big deal.
It's been a long road to see my daughter smile. I don't see that all the time... and this place makes her smile," she says.

Bridgewater Support Services runs throughout the year. If you'd like to learn more about the services that are offered, here's a link to the site: