Hope-full Healing With Horses

Season 2 Episode {1}: Vanessa Schmidt

This episode includes discussions about sex trafficking and how sustained sexual abuse impacts survivors even years after they’ve been trafficked. So, if this is something you want to skip, you should skip it. Listener discretion advised.

January is the official National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and this episode was released on January 11, 2021, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Throughout the month of January, I am interviewing nonprofit leaders—founders, ceos, and executive directors—who run organizations which are not only working tirelessly to raise awareness about human trafficking but also walking alongside victims and survivors of sex trafficking while they try to rebuild their lives.

Sidenote: This episode was recorded in late December 2020.

Vanessa Schmidt is the founder and board chair of The Wild Hope, an equine therapy ranch which provides healing, safety, and connection for survivors of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. The Austin-based organization is currently in phase two of start-up having successfully launched their pilot program in October 2020.

During our interview, Vanessa is extremely vulnerable sharing her own life experience of childhood abuse, her incredible connection with horses, and how the vision of this organization went from a dream to reality. You will be blown away when you hear how she got Jewel, the organization’s first mustang, and you will learn about the magic of horses when it comes to helping us humans heal from trauma.

I cannot wait to introduce you to Vanessa Schmidt, founder of The Wild Hope in Austin, Texas where they “hold onto hope for others until they are able to hold onto it for themselves.”

🎧 Click here to listen to this episode:

Season 2, Episode 1: Vanessa Schmidt

About Vanessa Schmidt

Vanessa Schmidt is the Founder and President of The Wild Hope Equine Center for Healing. As a survivor of complex trauma herself, Vanessa began working with horses as part of her own recovery. She volunteered at a therapeutic riding center with youth on probation and quickly saw her love of nature, horses and helping people all come together. It was then that she began researching and learning about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and decided to pursue a career in the industry.

Around the same time, Vanessa began mentoring survivors of sex trafficking. She would bring the survivors out to a family mustang ranch with her and saw the same powerful healing effect the horses had on the survivors as it had on her. She felt led to figure out a way to provide access to EAP to those who needed it most. The Wild Hope received it’s nonprofit status in May of 2018, and the organization launched its first program in October of 2020 – Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for survivors of sex trafficking, at no cost to them.

Season {2}, Episode {1}: Vanessa Schmidt

🔗 Connect with The Wild Hope

Website: https://www.thewildhopeaustin.org/
Donations: https://www.thewildhopeaustin.org/donate
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewildhopeaustin
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewildhopeaustin/

🙌 Reach Vanessa Schmidt at:

The Your Nonprofit Life Podcast is produced by the


Nonprofit Leadership Lab

Learn more about the Nonprofit Leadership Lab and
our exclusive online community “The Village”:

Website: https://nonprofitleadershiplab.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nonprofitleadershiplab

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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