WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Freedom Hooves, a therapeutic riding center, helps people overcome physical, emotional, and mental challenges.
“One of our favorite stories is we had a rider who was 9 years old and had never said a word and his first word was the name of his horse and just continued to talk after that.”
The organization is in no short supply of success stories.
Just ask Nick Rice and his mom Betty Rice.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Betty said.
Nick, 31, has cerebral palsy. His mom says he always wanted to be a cowboy.
“When he was about six, he couldn’t even sit up,” Betty said.
After getting him on a horse, it changed.
“That made him sit up straight, and it built that core so that he now can sit and walk and bounce, and it helps his balance too, and it’s just a lot of fun,” Betty said.
The reason horses are perfect for this type of therapy is because “how [horses] walk mimics how a human walks,” Hale said.
“So those who are physically challenged are getting those muscles engaged and moving that they normally would not.”
Hale says a person’s brain is constantly being stimulated while they’re riding. Because of this, they have clients that work on reading, writing, and math.
The work at Freedom Hooves goes beyond what’s physical.
“It gives him some encouragement, some confidence,” Betty said.
“People with disabilities are limited with what they can do and this is something he can call his own and enjoys.”
As for Nick who always wanted to be a cowboy, saddling up, working hard and trusting his horse pretty much gets him there.
3 ways to support Freedom Hooves: