Add To Favorites In PHR
Hold Your Horses provides therapeutic services for people with disabilities
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal - 9/9/2017
Sept. 09--Horses have emotions. They can read body language.
When you approach a horse, do it confidentally, said Tammie Durfey, instructor with Hold Your Horses Therapeutic Riding Center in Ransom Canyon.
"They're just like people," she said. "They all have different occupations and they all have different temperaments."
Confidence is one of the skills Kristin Baines, 20, has learned through her sessions at Hold Your Horses.
Baines, who is autistic, has been going to sessions for two years."I love horses," she said.
Each horse at Hold Your Horses is used to provide therapeutic and holistic care to people with disabilities, said Stephanie Wood, founder and executive director.Wood had a vision to "put kids and horses together." So she started the nonprofit in 2005. It started on someone else's property but was moved to make room for growth.
"We just got to move here probably a year ago," she said.It now sits on 11 acres and includes a barn and stables for the horses that live there.
"We work on bonding and attachment with the horses," Wood said.
Instructors teach patience, how to read body language and how to interact with others, she said.
For 12-year-old twins Dylan and Devin Acosta, riding horses is a fun form of physical therapy.
The Acosta twins were born with cerebral palsy and began riding horses when they were 2 after it was recommended by a childhood intervention program they were in, said Lori Acosta, their mother.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website defines cerebral palsy as a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination.
The disease has rendered Devin unable to be independently mobile. Dylan used to have to use a walker but was able to regain some independent mobility through riding horses.
"Well, when you ride the horses, it's very helpful to several parts of your body," Dylan said. "You can do several things with the horses. You can do a bunch of exercises."
Margo Green, assistant director of Hold Your Horses, said different horses have different movements that provide muscle workouts.
That's what's helped Dylan.
Riding horses has helped Devin, too. Lori and Danny Acosta, her husband and the twins' father, said Devin has made progress in being able to lift his head.
Wood said Devin rides a little differently than most.
"He has to ride on his tummy sideways across the horse," she said. "He doesn't ride the traditional way of sitting up on top."
While riding has provided more obvious physical benefits for the twins, it's been just as beneficial for Kristin.
Kristen started taking lessons at the suggestion of a therapist, said Tabitha Baines, Kristin's sister and guardian. Through her lessons, she's learned to approach, ride and feed horses.Besides gaining confidence, horse therapy has helped Kristin learn to better express herself, which is something Kristin has had trouble with in the past.
Kristin is in the moment while she's in the saddle, Tabitha said.
"When she's on the horse, she's not thinking of what else is going on or what she has to do," Tabitha said.
She's calm and relaxed, added Wood. Most of the time, so are the horses.
Though the riding sessions are beneficial for Hold Your Horses clients, the horses get something out of it, too.
Each horse has been donated to the riding center, Wood said. She describes them as "been there, done that" horses. Most of the 10 horses on site enjoy the interactions.
If you drive into Ransom Canyon on almost any Saturday or Sunday around midday, you might catch a glimpse of Kristin, Devin, Dylan or another Hold Your Horses rider trotting around the property.
Hold Your Horses Therapeutic Riding Center
Visit the Hold Your Horses Therapeutic Riding Center Facebook page for additional information.
(c)2017 the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas)
Visit the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas) at www.lubbockonline.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.