TR 4 Heart & Soul has given so much to kids with physical, mental and social disabilities. Wednesday, Doosan Bobcat wanted to return the favor.
The old saying says dog is man’s best friend, but some may argue that title belongs to horses.
Horses and humans are a little more alike than we may think.
Katie Oakland from TR 4 Heart & Soul said, “A horse’s brain develops really really similar to somebody who’s experienced a lot of trauma.”
TR 4 Heart & Soul is looking to build on those similarities to help those with various disabilities.
“We utilize the horse and both their physical and social, emotional characteristics to improve the lives of kids and adults who have a physical disability or maybe an emotional challenge,” said Oakland.
Riders come from all walks of life, all kinds of disabilities and all kinds of experiences on the saddle.
And speaking of saddles, some riders may use a western, English saddle, while others prefer to ride bare-back.
Oakland said, “We use a lot of western saddles for independent riders, maybe people that are fearful or that need the saddle horn or the pommel to hold on to.”
Oakland said English saddles are used in therapy for those who would benefit from the movement of the horse.
“Oftentimes we’ll use an English saddle for somebody with CP or with MS,” said Oakland.
It’s not just horses though.
“So, these [goats] are pretty new to our program, we just got them from a dear friend that we show horses with. But this one here is Pirate, he has a patch on his eye, and this one is Oreo. And they’re used for horse camps, and for just kids to come out here and to have a companion animal, and learn what it is to take care of an animal, or somebody other than yourself,” said Oakland.
Nichole Doppler has two future cow-girls, Anna and Ava, in the program and says she’s wanting to get on the horse herself.
Doppler said, “It’s wonderful, I mean, to have someone that can adapt to all the different disabilities that kids might have from ADD to you know, just physical disabilities as well as mental.
Doosan Bobcat wanted to help improve the facility even more, volunteering around the ranch.
Amelia Doll from Doosan Bobcat said, “We painted a bunch of fences, we did a bunch of weed eating and weed whacking. Behind us, we’re cleaning out all the stalls.”
Going beyond cleaning, they also put their tools to use.
“We’re building a lean-to shelter, so that people who come out and watch therapy can kind of have a shady area to sit,” said Doll.
Doppler says the experience may have swayed her to add a member to the family.
“We’re exploring, maybe getting one someday, so we need to get some more experience before we can make that decision,” said Doppler.
TR 4 Heart & Soul is ready to ride on into this summer.
Oakland says they also board a few horses at the ranch.
To find out more about TR 4 Heart and Soul, visit their website at https://www.therapeuticriding4has.org/