Editorial: Healing with horses

By on February 7, 2013

We’ve all heard about therapeutic horseback riding and how it can work wonders for adults and children with disabilities. However, you can’t really appreciate the miracle-like benefits of therapy riding until you hear a parent give a testamonial to the way in which equine therapy has improved their child’s condition, outlook and overall quality of life.

At that point, you understand.

That’s what happened on Saturday during Blazing Prairie Stars’ Mardi Gras fundraiser, held at Riverside Receptions in Geneva. Several volunteers and parents of clients spoke during the event—one volunteer stated that she got involved with the organization as a way to continue the work her best friend had done with disabled children prior to losing her life in a car accident last year; several parents told stories about how much their children have developed mentally and physically during their time with Blazing Prairie Stars. And every speaker echoed the same sentiment: Blazing Prairie Stars does extraordinary things for extraordinary adults and children alike.

Blazing Prairie Stars and fellow Maple Park-based equine therapy organization HorsePower Therapeutic Riding seek to help disabled adults and children rehabiliate and develop physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially through the experience of therapeutic horseback riding. Both organizations’ equine-assisted therapy has helped ease the condition of those who suffer from autism, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, bipolar and anxiety disorders, cerebral palsy, brain trauma, sensory integrative dysfunction, etc.

The results, as evidenced during Blazing Prairie Stars’ gala on Saturday, and HorsePower’s fundraiser at St. Charles Bowl on Jan. 19, are nothing short of astounding. These horses and trainers are really helping kids and adults with disabilities—every day, and in our own backyard, no less.

In addition to the occupational, physical, and speech and language therapies offered by both local equine therapy barns, participating kids and teens can also further develop by socially interacting in groups with peers and horses who are the same age.

The service and goodwill doesn’t stop there, either. HorsePower co-founder Carrie Capes last June said her highest goal is to provide therapeutic riding to people with disabilities, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Our dream is to have a sliding scale,” she said at the time. “This community is helping to make that happen.”

And just when you thought you’d seen everything.