Equine Therapy for Physically & Mentally Challenged Individuals

Equine Therapy for Physically & Mentally Challenged Individuals

"It's kind of a lifestyle for these riders," Colleen Vermeulen says.
"We tried physical therapy with her in the past and she didn't like it, she didn't want to do it and it wasn't fun." Kaitlyn Benton's mom, Kimberly Messner, had exhausted all her options with traditional therapy. She turned to 7 Star Therapeutic Riding Center for hope. "She's loved horses forever and we thought this would be something that would help her."

Kaitlyn was born at 26 weeks with Cerebral Palsy, and without equine therapy, Kimberly says Kaitlyn wouldn't have made the progress she's made. "Ever since we've been coming here she's done amazing and she doesn't fall as much. It's helped her coordination a lot."

"The benefits are above and beyond regular clinical therapy, because you're not in the clinical and having somebody move your arms for you. The horse is moving your muscles for you. When you get on a horse, you engage 119 muscles involuntarily and balance. Your core trunk is engaged right away and you're constantly having to adjust your center of balance," explains Certified Path Instructor Colleen Vermeulen.

7 Star Therapeutic Riding Center is also know for it's equine psychotherapy program. "I've worked with the veterans and we're trying to get the veterans into our EAP program, because working with horses in a non threatening environment. I have seen problems resolved so much faster," says Gwen Murphy, EAGALA Certified EAP Instructor.

Horses are prey animals which makes them intuitive and able to pick up on what the client is feeling.

"I've been in practice since 1990 and I've been doing this for the past three years and this beats it just because the way the clients respond to the animals."

"It's an awesome form of therapy. It's kind of a lifestyle for these riders."

Without the horses and volunteers, the riders wouldn't see the benefits they do each week, whether it's emotional or physical.

"Once you start working with the kids and the horses, it just kind of hooks ya."

It's been an amazing blessing for us. I don't think we could of found a more amazing group of women and men and volunteers. I don't think we could ever thank them enough."

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