Horse Therapy Helped Jaycee Dugard Reconnect With Family After 18 Year Abduction

Jaycee Dugard 'grateful' for support following interview, memoir release.

ByABC News
July 25, 2011, 7:15 AM

July 25, 2011 — -- Jaycee Dugard, the California women held captive for 18 years in a backyard prison, has amazed millions with her resilience and courage in speaking about the horror she's overcome, but rejoining her family and moving forward has been the result of hard work with a team of therapists utilizing unique techniques.

Dugard's mother, Terry Probyn, and family unification therapist, Rebecca Bailey, spoke to Good Morning America today about how Dugard is doing since she spoke exclusively to ABC News' Diane Sawyer and released her bestselling memoir, "A Stolen Life." Probyn said her daughter is grateful for all the support she's received.

"She wants to write more books. She wants to ride horses. She wants to grow and just give back," Probyn said.

Dugard spoke openly about her ordeal after being kidnapped at age 11 in 1991 by Phillip and Nancy Garrido. She was imprisoned in a backyard compound where she gave birth to two daughters before they were rescued in 2009.

Since her rescue, Dugard and her family have worked with Bailey and her team. Bailey utilizes techniques as varied as picking vegetables together to the use of dogs and horses to help family members reconnect with one another.

"It's a very collaborative effort between my team and the families that come in...We're all about empowering the family to get through the transition," Bailey said. "The impact on one victim has a ripple effect throughout the whole system. Some of the work we do is as simple as getting the family together to cook a meal together."

Dugard described the power of the horse therapy in her interview with ABC News earlier this month.

"I can choose for it to be a learning opportunity, a growing opportunity. When I can't catch that horse and I get frustrated, you know next time I approach it differently. I'll try to grow from it," Dugard said.

Bailey said that the horses helped the family rebuild trust with one another and allowed them to simply play without thinking about the heavy ordeal they've all survived.

"It allowed for interaction without conscious self monitoring...also absolute trust," Bailey said earlier this month. "The first time they were put on the horses, there was a moment that they had to trust each other to lead each other... and believe it or not, that's a scary process."

Bailey said that horses are used to treat a range of conditions and illnesses from autism to brain injury.

"You can look at them as metaphorical mythical beasts. You can look at them as highly can look at them in all different things, but the fact is when you get in there [the corral], your defenses go're acting on fear in there," Bailey said earlier this month.

Dugard who planned to work on a horse farm the summer she was kidnapped while walking from her Tahoe, Calif., home to school, said that working with horses helped her conquer fears.

"The opportunity to work with horses was just amazing, you know," she said.

Now Dugard is using the same tools that helped her and her family with a new foundation. Her mother, Probyn, described the foundation on Good Morning America.

"It's actually the JAYC foundation and it means just ask yourself to care and what we want to do is give back to the folks that find themselves in these difficult situations," Probyn said.

Dugard wants the foundation to use animal therapy and other forms of therapy to help families of abduction and other families transitioning from difficult situations.