AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A local non-profit using horse riding to enhance the lives of people with mental and physical challenges says it is in desperate need of volunteers.
More and more people wanting horse riding therapy are reaching out to the 7 Star Therapeutic Riding Center, but right now they are limited on the services they can provide because they don't have enough volunteers.
"It feels very great to be on this horse," said Talon Wilk-Murphy. Talon has cerebral palsy. He first climbed on a therapeutic riding horse three years ago.
Talon's twin brother, Hauk, said therapy riding has made a huge difference in his brother's life. "He has improved in walking by far. There's been a lot more improvement with him with his focus and his abilities. He can actually do more physical activities. He can be more active with me when he used to just stay in his room."
7 Star wants to help more people like Talon. "The movement of the horse mimics the human gate and it kind of tricks the brain into thinking that they're walking, whether they are or not," said 7 Star board member Gwen Murphy. "We do know it develops new neural pathways. It's something in the magic of the horse that created that. We want to be able to do things like that for more and more people."
Their biggest obstacle right now is volunteers. They need around 50, but they only have 11.
The reason 7 Star needs so many volunteers is because during each session they need at least one person to stand on each side of the horse and one person to help guide it. Together, all three volunteers support the client and provide a safety net. The volunteers walk the horse around the arena and help the therapy instructor with exercises. No previous horse experience is needed.
"We can grow the program if we have the volunteers," said Murphy.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you can call 7 Star at 806-316-2473.