Project Horse was founded in 2008 with the mission to improve the mental health and wellness of individuals by connecting them in unique partnerships with our therapy horses. In the 15 years since its founding, our organization has become a nationally recognized leader in the field of equine-assisted therapy. Utilizing a unique non-riding approach, we partner individuals in need of mental health support with rehabilitated rescue horses to facilitate healing.
In August of 2021, Project Horse merged with The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit with a 55-year history of supporting individuals and their families living with disabilities. Project Horse has become the sixth program under The Arc of Loudoun umbrella bringing mental health and wellness into the already robust list of services provided to the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.
With the addition of Project Horse, The Arc of Loudoun redefined “DISABILITY” to include Mental Health. In doing so The Arc of Loudoun made the intentional decision to educate the community and help them recognized that disabilities can be long-term or temporary, visible or invisible, physical, cognitive, behavioral, or emotional. This is a powerful reminder that most of us have experienced a disability in some capacity in our lives, even if temporarily. We hope to continue to reduce the stigmas around both disabilities and mental health.
In 2007 Project Horses’ founder, Darcy Woessner, came across a very special horse named Reeses. Reeses could no longer be ridden due to an untreated injury. In desperate need of care, Reeses was rescued and rehabilitated by Darcy. During this time, Darcy’s interactions with this gentle and resilient horse strengthened Darcy’s long-time belief that horses are powerful healers. Together Reeses and Darcy founded Project Horse in 2008 to find a suitable job for this former triathlete who could no longer be ridden.
Reeses could heal humans she interacted with lovingly and compassionately while still holding them to task. Many beautiful horses followed in Reeses’ footsteps and joined the team at Project Horse. Although Project Horse is not a rescue, the inspiration from Reeses’ rescue and rehabilitation has remained the cornerstone of our philosophy around building our herd. Project Horse’s herd is comprised of horses who have been rescued from various situations such as neglect, starvation, abandonment, or physical abuse.
At Project Horse, we connect individuals in need of hope and healing with our rehabilitated rescue horses, creating a unique community of mutual healing and benefit.
Project Horse is dedicated to improving the quality of life
for both horses and humans.
The calming presence of horses, coupled with their keen ability to sense and respond to human emotion and intention, provides an ideal environment for self-discovery, healing and personal growth.
In October 2019, Reeses won the National Honor & Service Award presented at the Washington International Horse show by the EQUUS Foundation. Sadly, we lost this incredibly gifted healer to brain cancer in 2020.
To meet our current herd and to honor the horse that have given their generous service to Project Horse but are no longer with us, visit our Meet the Herd page.
In 2021, Project Horse underwent a significant organizational change.
The original Loudoun-based equine therapy center transferred leadership to The Arc of Loudoun. Project Horse’s founder, Darcy Woessner, relocated to Colorado and launched a new equine therapy center in Golden. Both centers continue the same innovative and highly impactful work: connecting individuals in need of hope and healing with rehabilitated rescue horses, ultimately creating a unique community of mutual healing and benefit.
To contact Darcy Woessner or connect with Project Horse Colorado click here.
Darcy Woessner, CES
Darcy grew up riding horses and competing in horse competitions before focusing on other pursuits as a young adult. Darcy holds an MBA in International Business and has worked for large multinationals like Michelin Tire Corporation and Colgate-Palmolive. She has also worked as a marketing and development consultant in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors.
During a period of professional soul-searching, Darcy returned to her passion for horses. It was at this time that Darcy came across the horse now known as “Reeses” who changed the course of her life. Reeses had been turned out to pasture and forgotten after suffering a serious injury that ended her career as an eventing horse. Unable to be ridden, Reeses was considered by many to be without purpose or value. Darcy felt differently and rescued Reeses from poor conditions.
Rehabilitating Reeses served to strengthen Darcy’s long-time belief that horses are powerful healers. In 2008, Reeses and Darcy co-founded Project Horse, creating a space of mutual healing and benefit where horses and humans could help each other to heal and grow.
In addition to leading Project Horse for more than 14 years, Darcy was always involved with Client Services. With Eagala and Trauma-Focused Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy™ certifications as an Equine Specialist, Darcy co-facilitated many individual and group programs. She also led the Mobile Minis™ off-site community outreach and education programs. In 2016, Darcy and Fiona Fudge, one of the Mobile Minis, appeared on NBC News Channel 4 and ABC/News Channel 8’s “The Pet Show” with Dr. Katy.
In 2021, Darcy relocated to Colorado, accompanied by Fiona Fudge. With Fudge at her side, Darcy has launched a Project Horse equine-assisted therapy center in Golden, Colorado, bringing the incredible healing benefits of horses to a new community.
Darcy remains involved and in close contact, serving as a trusted advisor to Project Horse Virginia.
To connect with Darcy in Colorado – CLICK HERE.