How horses can be a source of therapy

Local News

A local group is using Ag Progress Days to showcase how horses can be a source of therapy.

On day two of Ag Progress Days, one organization was not only lending helping hands, but helping hooves as well.  For Hands On Therapeutic Riding,  Ag Progress Days is the best place for recruitment.

“It’s fun to work with horses and other people because then I can make new friends,” said 8-year-old Kathleen Wickersham.

Hands On is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, or PATH, which means they have qualified instructors ready to assist those with special needs.  Nancy Maier, Director of Hands On, said for her, it’s more than just a hobby.

“I’m a Penn State graduate.  I worked with special needs children. That was my main occupation, and I also had a horse and a horse training facility,” Maier said.

Hands On provides therapeutic riding sessions for anyone dealing with mental, physical or emotional disabilities.

“They help you get stress out,” Wickersham said.

Hands On can even teach your child how to walk.  Maier said that riding a horse helps build the important core muscles and muscle memory that a child needs.  She said it would be impossible without the help from volunteers.

“We’re an all volunteer operation.  No one draws a salary, so everything we do we need volunteers for,” said Maier.

Hands On helps to improve self-confidence, teach independence and enhance self awareness.

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