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Horse therapy impacting disabled children in El Paso
By: Chrisdyann Uribe
EL PASO, TexasHorses are being used as a form of therapy for children with special needs in the Borderland.
Its a part of the nonprofit organization called Compadres Therapy, in west El Paso. It uses horses to create a bond that creates a healing and educational effect on disabled children.
Compadres Therapy is all about relationships with the horses. Occupational therapist, speech therapist and physical therapist are able to utilize the horses movement as part of their therapy, said Joy Ferguson, the executive director.
Professionals said horse therapy benefits in ways that are different ways from therapy in an office where the patient sits on a chair at a desk.
Riding a horse is different because it provides that left right input so that it activates both sides of the brain. It engages the brain at a different level, said Kriste Noel, a speech language pathologist.
Parents tell KFOX14 they have seen an improvement in the mobility and speech skills of children and felt the enjoyment they get from it.
He loves coming, he loves animals and he really likes the horses that he rides. Its very good for his core and just to be outside. Its different from regular therapy because it doesnt seem like therapy. Its fun and enjoyable, said Christine Cox, the mother of an 8-year-old boy named Ty.
Four years ago, Ty was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Cox decided to try horse therapy and is pleased with the results.
This gets him outside, and its good for the whole body and also just for his spirit-- and you know, its fun for him, Cox said.
Katie Woods is a 16-year-old volunteer who was once a patient of the organization but couldnt stay away.
It really helped me after I was in remission coming here and just riding and training. It was great. I was with the program and I didnt want to stop coming, so its great. I love it, Woods said.
The organization said it needs help with volunteers and donations. Becoming a volunteer isnt hard; the only age requirement is 14 years or older.
We always need help -- from helping with the horse expenses to helping with equipment, office equipment, Ferguson said.
To donate or get more information on receiving horse therapy for your child, go to www.compadrestherapy.com.