DALLAS, Texas (KDAF) — Cowboys and horses are part of DFW’s DNA — at Equest, horses are so much more than riding. They are actually used to improve life.
“Instead of going to the clinic and sitting on a big rubber ball, you come to Equest and use the symmetrical, three-dimensional movement of the horse to facilitate therapy plans,” said program manager Joan Cutler. at Equest.
They have therapy plans for every type of person: emotional therapy.
“We can actually read horses,” said Megan Price, occupational therapist at Equest. “We will say that Thoran here is not that interested in this person. What’s going on inside them – let’s work on that.
They also offer physiotherapy. Many of Equest’s programs aim to help people with disabilities.
“Imagine you’re an 8-year-old boy and you sit in a wheelchair most of the time,” Cutler said. “But every Tuesday at 3 p.m. you come to Equest and they put you on a 1,200 pound horse and you tell that 1,200 pound horse where to go, what to do, how to do it. Your siblings can watch you do it.
For those like 17-year-old Patrick, his time riding doubles his time in the gym.
“A physical therapist once told me that 30 minutes on horseback for some of these kids is like 2,000 mini sit-ups,” Cutler said. “It doesn’t happen when you’re sitting in a chair. It happens when you are on a horse’s back and you have to correct your balance every time the horse moves and with every step. You get that the exercise can benefit a horse’s back – which is pretty cool on its own.
All of this gives customers an ego boost. Not just for people with disabilities.
“You may have seen him sitting, standing or in a two-point position with his hands on Thoran with his butt out of the saddle,” Price said. “These are different positions to strengthen the core, strengthen the legs, put some pressure on the hands for proprioceptive stimulation of the joints. This is primarily to strengthen and condition Patrick’s body.
A lot of it is about empowerment, self-confidence, socialization, and the physical things that go with it.
“You come to Equest, start working with horses, and one of your confidence things is that you can take the foot off a 1,200 pound horse.”
An Equest participant named Bralen, who learned riding through programs, taught CW33’s Landon Wexler how to groom a horse. You can watch that full experience above.
“It’s hay and pebbles and you pull it out like that…and then you use it to pull out the rest.”
Attendees like Bralen learn the ins and outs of caring for a horse – therapy in itself.
“It teaches kids and adults riding skills – how to ride, how to work with them, how to groom them, how to groom them, how to put them away – all the things that go into riding and teaching responsibility. “, Cutler said. .
At the same time, the therapies also serve as daily exercises for clients.
“I have other kids and people who come here and just wave their arm and do this move, putting that range on the count of ten – I’d rather brush a horse than lift weights and go to the gym and those things. ,” Cutler said. “He has a lot of different perks and some of them we sneak through without you even knowing.”
From now on, at Equest, veterans and their families have access to the programs for free.
“Equest provides veterans and family services at no cost to themselves and their families because we are able to fund this program through donations, grants, and other funding,”
Equest partners with horses to improve the lives of children, adults and veterans. For more information on signing up for their services or free programs for veterans and their families, you can visit the Equest website.
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