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7-18-05 – For Texoma children with special needs, not a lot of therapy programs exist outside of the school system. One horseback-riding center in Bonham is working to change that.
Hannah’s Horseshoes of Hope began four years ago with one horse, and one student.
Through community support in the form of generous donations, the facilities expanded, and the lessons grew. But it’s been a long ride for the volunteer staff.
“It can be discouraging,” says Janice Mills, founder of the center. “Everyone working in a non-profit is pulling from the same pool. But all I have to do is see one of these kids ride, and it completely reenergizes me.”
Children and adults with disabilities ranging from Spine Bifida, to Autism to Downs Syndrome are helped by the horse therapy. Certified instructors work one-on-one with their special needs. The horses soothe physical disabilities, and increase the riders’ confidence, and focus. Parents say the change in their child is clearly evident.
“She doesn’t get out to do a lot of things other kids do, and this is just great for her,” says Lynn Jackson. She knows that she’s special when she’s doing this. When she goes back to school she tells all her friends, ‘I’ve been riding!”
Lynn’s daughter, Victoria, has been riding with Hannah’s Horseshoes of Hope for over a year.
“It allows people who are told by society that they can't do things, to do something that most people can't. So it's tremendous with confidence,” says Carol Crilly, student coordinator for the program.
Hannah’s Horseshoes of Hope will be closed for the next two months, and will reopen sometime after Labor Day when the weather cools off. Riding lessons are $20 per student, and scholarships are available. Contact the program for fall registration information: (903) 664-3062.