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Posted: Apr 27, 2004 11:43


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Tomball, Texas
Kathy Cadwalder, Dr. PhD

Visit by: Lon Woodbury - Nov. 28, 2003

Located on the outskirts of Tomball, which is a suburb of Houston, the first view of the facility is a large ranch style house in the middle of a large well-maintained lawn. Situated in the forefront of several acres owned by the program, sits the rambling, comfortably furnished ranch house with staff offices, reception area and family group counseling rooms.

With horse stables set off to one side of the ranch house, a large old style two-story house is nestled behind to house clients and most of the indoor program activities. A walkway through the trees, and a gazebo overlooking a small pond are accessible to their clients. The overall rural atmosphere is one of peaceful tranquility.

For more than 25 years, Doctors Roger and Kathy Cadwalder, co-founders of the clinic, with their doctorates in Public Health and licensed as Master Social Workers, have provided treatment for behavioral problems and substance abuse. The emphasis in this co-educational program is on teen eating disorders, substance abuse and behavioral problems.

With more than three-dozen horses on the property, the Equine Therapy component is the core of their program. They assert, “The skills many troubled young people lack are the very ones required to work with horses. Non-verbal communication, honesty, respect, and assertiveness are requisites of this therapy. This is not a program about riding or horsemanship, but rather a serious therapeutic discipline… Horses have a unique ability to help clients make changes more quickly than they would with traditional talk therapy alone…. Equine assisted therapy is similar to the difference between classroom and on-the-job training…. As treatment continues, the clients learn to recognize and control their faulty thinking patterns, actions and reactions.”

They explain their philosophy as working with the whole child, involving physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. The program is designed to span from 30 days, to six-months or even a year. This flexibility allows them to base the program on the varying needs of their clients. They provide their clients with self-help and 12-step materials throughout their stay because they believe “a spiritual awakening can be the single most powerful catalyst for change.” “Every day… begins with one hour of non-denomination meditation, devotion and community spiritual direction.”

They feel their clients receive the most powerful healing influence when cognitive Behavioral Therapy is integrated with the equine assisted psychotherapy. As part of that, they have a six level program which details specific privileges and responsibilities for each level.

I had a chance to visit with their clients in a group called toward the end of our visit; the young people looked good and were positive about their experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to see them work with the horses, but maybe during my next visit.

The Cadwalders are developing a retreat for families in Idaho located outside of McCall, it is called Yellowjacket Ranch, which at the present time encompasses 160 acres. At the present time, they keep many of the horses at the Yellowjacket Ranch, and transport them back and forth from Tomball as needed.

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