MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch received a $5,000 grant from the Minot Community Endowment Fund.

The Horse Program at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in Minot has been around since the ranch first opened.

Children at the Ranch suffer from severe challenges, such as psychiatric, behavioral and trauma issues.

The Ranch says that the horse program is a key part in the treatment process.

“Horses are really good at feeling our emotions. So if we come and we are feeling differently than how we are saying we feel, the horses can tone in on that and they will act a different way. They will maybe walk away from you if you are feeling distressed, if you’re feeling stressed,” said Horse Program Coordinator Amber Benham.

Although the horses at the ranch are used for trail riding, that is not their primary use.

The main purpose of the horses is to practice calming strategies to decrease the intensity of their emotions.

Setting them up for life as they connect with other people.

“Watching our kids build empathy for the horses and later on carrying on to empathy for, you know, people. Not just empathy but relationships, being more willing to open up to everybody,” added Benham.

Funds from the grant will be put towards the horse program.

Giving them a much-needed upgrade to the lighting in the riding arena.

“The $5,000 put in new LED lights, we already have them. They are perfect it has brightened up the arena a whole lot so. It’s a lot easier to, I mean see to the end, the kids can see more and it just, it makes it brighter ore vibing atmosphere I guess,” said Benham.

Benham said each kid in this program gets to pick their horse.

However, most of the time the horse picks the kid.

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch says the horse program will continue to be a vital step in their treatment.