Disability Issues

Center offers horse therapy for riders with different abilities

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Horse therapy helps people with disabilities in many different ways. Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding Center, a not-for-profit organization, aims to enhance the quality life for all people with disabilities regardless of their age and abilities.

Adults from Keshet's Day Program spend one day a week at Horsefeathers in Lake Forest. Program Director Debbie Harris says this has changed some of their lives.

"Some of them were afraid to get on horses when they first came, and now, they're comfortable. They will ride longer and do more activities, and it just gives them such peace and hope and comfort and joy," Harris said.

Horsefeathers' Director Nick Coyne says they provide different accommodations and services to riders.

"I've got three occupational therapists, and I've got a speech therapist, a grief counselor and a stand by physical therapist, if I need them," said Coyne. "Everyone, when they come, here is assessed to their abilities and disabilities, and some people will be with a therapist for a good bit."

"To go with therapist, the individual needs a prescription from their doctor," Coyne said.

In addition to therapeutic riding, the center also offers hippotherapy provided by occupational therapist Paula Lundell.

"Hippotherapy is actually the horse imparting the movement onto the child or the patient," said Lundell. The center offers one-on-one and group riding.

Horsefeathers' fee is $50 per session.

"We have an awful lot of very kind people that have sponsored riders," Coyne said.

"They talk about coming here and liking the horses. They communicate with the horses. They have something, some way they connect with them and just a passion for being here," said Harris.

All staff members are certified riding instructors. For more information go to www.horsefeatherscenter.org

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