Rein-Bow Riding Academy

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By Ashley Himmelsbaugh; photos by Tom Brannon

Rein-Bow Riding Academy is a Hippotherapy and Riding Therapy program located at Stanfield Farm in Huron, Tenn. The program is part of the West Tennessee Healthcare programs for therapy and learning, where children or adults of all ages with special needs can ride horses.

It is completely volunteer run in the effort to keep everything free of charge for the riders. It is truly a rewarding experience to volunteer and help these people. The change you can see throughout the sessions, both mentally and physically, is incredible. Some of the kids come in absolutely terrified to even touch the horse, but as the weeks go on, they become so excited for their turn to ride and interact with the horses. You can see some of the riders go from having trouble moving enough to sit properly or steer, to becoming more comfortable and able to control their own bodies and the horses.

It is amazing what simply riding a horse can do for people! Riding horses can help people with cerebral palsy, autism, impaired coordination, abnormal muscle tone and patients recovering from traumatic brain injury. The rhythm of the horse’s gait mimics a person’s walk and stimulates the muscles while triggering muscle memory.

Rein-Bow Riding Academy does not charge families for riding sessions, but there is a cost to take care of the horses, facilities, and pay the workers.To help raise money for the program, I recently hosted a horse show at the Rein-Bow Riding Academy facility.We raised almost $200, which may not seem like a lot, but it was well worth it! Fundraisers of any and all sizes are needed, and can help tremendously. They don’t even have to be horse related. Volunteers can do anything to raise money for the program. It is an amazing program and I want to do everything I can to help keep it running.

Donations to the organization can be made to the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation (attention: Hippotherapy program).

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