MINOT, ND (KXNET) — Therapy can take all forms. Whether its inside or outside therapists can make a difference.
Kristi Schaefer is the founder of the serenity therapeutic equine program.
This is her 12th year doing the program.
However it is her 18th year as a riding instructor.
Schaefer says she grew up with horses and fell in love with what they can do for people and decided to take this path in life.
They also do Hippotherapy, which according to the National Health Institute, is a physical, occupational, and speech therapy that utilizes the natural movement of a horse to provide motor and sensory input.
“So with what the horse is doing is mirroring how a person walks so the way the horse moves is the way we walk and so that is why we are using the horse for hippotherapy,” said Schaefer Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Serenity Therapeutic Equine Program.
Normally therapy and physical therapy are inside an office.
They take you outside to a different method of doing this type of therapy.
Rain or shine sessions continue.
“Therapeutic riding is using the horses for a therapy either mental health or physical therapies so using the horses to either to help somebody who is not being able to walk or has limitations in their mobility The horse mirrors our personality and feelings and stuff.and so that can help a person who is needing that assistance,” said Schaefer Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Serenity Therapeutic Equine Program.
Volunteers and employees guide the horses and clients around the course.
Riding horses and being outside helps with mental health along with being able to maintain balance while the horse is walking the track.
Amanda Fowler has seen results from this program with her granddaughter, Krista.
Fowler says, Krista has been more independent and outgoing since starting this therapy.
“It’s helped Krista walk. She never walked until she was three. So it’s impacted her a lot,” said (Amanda Fowler Kristas Hippo Therapy).
Fowler encourages people who have down syndrome, or children and adults with disabilities to try it out.
During the session, Krista was smiling and talking a lot.
And she was not the only rider out there.
There were also two sisters.
Holly Haman has two daughters the youngest is missing part of her left hand and the oldest has Cerebral Palsy.
Haman says here family loves this program. The kids are getting therapy, and they do not realize it.
“Improvement in everyday tasks .anywhere from getting their shoes on to climbing, using the playground at school, being able to just better interact with their peers.” said Holly Haman Mother of Emmalyn seven and Avalie five.
Both sisters did have a favorite horse.
Emmalyn says her favorite was Benny and Avalie says Stick was hers.
They each had something they liked about this program.
“Um everything. animals,” said Sisters Emmalyn and Avalie.