McDonald Therapeutic Riding Center helps people with different abilities by using horses

Adam riding the horse. Image by WTVC

Riding horses can be a fun pastime, but for 200 families in our area, the experience can be life-changing.

The Tri-State Therapeutic Riding Center is helping people with different abilities meet their goals, on and off the horse.

This is one of 35-year-old Adam McDonald's favorite places. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby..his dad says that doesn't stop him from trying new things.

"A person with special needs does require a lot more attention in some ways than maybe a normal kid but the rewards are many too" says Gary McDonald, Adam's father.

Adam's dad says he struggles with the muscle coordination needed for everyday tasks.

"He's spastic or very tight," says Gary.

But once at Tri-State Therapeutic Riding Center. His father says each lesson comes with a major improvement.

Program Director Ashley Hartz says they want that kind of progress to happen with all of their 200 annual riders.

"We offer a variety of therapeutic services that anybody at any age might need, we have physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health.," says Ashley Hartz.

With horses large, small and special lifts, Ashley says they customize each session based on what the riders needs.

"We always talk about people's abilities rather than their disabilities," says Ashley.

Giving people like Adam not only a chance to express himself but also go home a little stronger with each ride.

"It's also very humbling to see, the volunteers, the efforts they put in to make this a very good experience," says Gary.

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