Horse therapy gives new meaning to life for those with physical and emotional needs

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In times like these a Bismarck nonprofit says everyone needs to take life by the reins.

KX News talked with a nonprofit organization just south of Bismarck whose mission is to improve the quality of life for both children and adults by offering horse riding.

Therapeutic Riding for Heart and Soul helps people with both physical and emotional blocks.

Katie Oakland is 35-year-old and in 2002 this ranch was just a dream. After years of training and building a team, TR 4 Heart and Soul started to come to life in 2016. It began as a pilot program for kids with autism and cerebral palsy.

Oakland says, “We did a little more training and we learned about how the horses are truly able to provide more pathways in the brainstem working bottom up-regulation and this really helps lots of kids with trauma, lots of kids with addiction and mental health issues.”

Now, two years later and despite the pandemic, it’s still running.

Oakland says, “We serve physical disabilities, social and emotional health, we do serve a wide variety, we don’t just serve kids. We do serve adults too. Our youngest participant is 4 years old. Our oldest participant is 78.”

The ranch runs on 95 percent volunteers. Macie Neva is only 17-year-old and she’s been with the organization for two years now. She says, “I love being around horses and its always just, it’s almost peaceful. My own horses have really been a big part of that so I just love coming out here and having that feeling– that same effect.”

And that feeling affects the heart and soul of all the people who come to the ranch.

Oakland says the ranch is on 40 acres of land, with 30 therapy horses that come from all walks of life.
Some are old cutting horses, rodeo horses, and show horses and since they can’t do those jobs anymore, they come to the ranch to give people a new meaning for life.

Oakland says the horses bring so much joy to people… so much that… they’re dressing them up for
Halloween and having an event at the ranch and next month they’re hosting the annual Blue Jean Black Tie Affair.

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