So sayeth the wonderful people who run the Helping Hands Therapeutic Riding Center, a local organization here that is doing fantastic things with some fantastic people.
I got a call a few days ago from a friend of mine, who said, "Hey - I want you to see this place. You'll like it."
I had never heard of "this place" - but always open for new experiences, I jumped in Mike's truck when he pulled up Friday, and off I went for a private tour of the HHTRC.
We met up with Ray, the President of the Board of Directors, who took me around, explained everything, and answered about a bazillion questions that I threw at him.
Here at the HHTRC, therapists and volunteers work with people of all ages with horse therapy - also known as "hippotherapy".
...it could be a child with autism, where HHTRC makes it possible to encourage learning, verbal & nonverbal expression, positive social interaction, and bonding with the horses.
...it could be a veteran suffering from PTSD, where HHTRC offers equine activities and therapies.
...it could be a child in a wheelchair, where HHTRC uses the multi-dimensional movement of the horse to provide a dynamic, unique and motivating therapy.
Currently, HHTRC is working with over a hundred children and veterans, with approximately 16 specially-trained horses. I saw their indoor arena, as well as their pastures, stables, and dressing areas.
The indoor arena...so the children can still have lessons in inclement weather...
The wheelchair ramp, so the child can be transferred to the horse easily...
It was quite impressive.
Just one of their beautiful horses...all of which go through extensive training and testing to insure their personalities are good with the children and veterans...
I left with a whole new appreciation for what people can do with special-needs children, as well as the special people that work with them.
I may have found just another area to give back, as well. Having worked previously with children with special needs - and especially autism - this, I have to say, was pretty cool.
Check it out - here is their LINK for more information.