BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) - The Spirit Ridge Equine Center is helping people deal with emotional and physical health while riding saddle back. The center just held the grand opening for it's new Jonesboro and Brookland facility last Sunday, and many in the area have already experienced the benefits.
Six-year-old Brandt has come out the Spirit Ridge Equine Center every Friday since the summer started. His mom, Camelia Ballard, says their physical therapist recommended it for the summer to get a break from the typical therapy. Ballard says it's become something he looks forward to every week.
"He's very excited. He can wait for Friday so he can come out to the barn and ride the horse. He doesn't even realize that he's actually doing therapy, because it's so much fun. They are using the horse as their tool to teach him all these things for speech, stability, and the motor skills. He just having a blast," said Ballard.
Center Director Sandra Maynard says the center offers something for the whole community. They use horses as a tool to help with everything from mental, physical, speech and occupational needs.
"When a horse moves they are actually going to move your hips like you are walking and it's going to develop your core strength, leg strength, and your hip strength," said Sandra.
They also have programs to benefit your mental health. "It's builds their confidence and it's not just people with disabilities. It's anybody," said Maynard.
Maynard has worked with this type of therapy since the 90s, and it's something she's very passionate about. "My 25 year old son has autism, and I have a step daughter that was brain damaged at five years old," said Maynard.
She's seen the benefits of this type of therapy through her own children. "My son has gotten married, has two children, and a flight engineer in the air force. And he attributed his success in learning how to deal with people by learning how to read horse behavior," said Maynard.