Special needs children saddle up for therapy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special needs children saddle up for therapy

June 15, 2007

By Delivrine Registre

Lee County -- It's a great day for riding and some very special children saddle up. "We have riders with autism, C. P. [crebral palsey], spinal bifida, amputees, and blind," said Director Tara Okon.

Children with special needs come to the Honey Pot Stable for some therapeutic riding. "I've been riding Cici and Hobo for a couple of hours lately," said John Scott Okon, one of the riders.

The children may be hesitant at first, but this doesn't last for long. "We have kids who cry because they don't want to get on, but than they cry because they don't want to get off," volunteer coordinator Gretchen Gay said.

Not only do they have a good time, but they also make some new friends. "It's just wonderful. These kids bond with those horses and they don't realize they are getting some physical therapy," Gay said.

"Children who have trouble walking get on the horse that facilitate the walking motion and when they get off, they move better," Okon said. But this camp wouldn't be possible without some generous people.

"Volunteers, without volunteers we don't exist," Okon said. The parents agree. "It's a wonderful program and everyone needs to come out and be a part of it," Melissa Battle said.

Funding is also needed to make all this possible. "We mainly do fund raisers, we have Easter sales, but the rest is just donations," Okon said. But when it all comes together everyone involved benefits from the experience.

If you are interested in helping the Southwest Therapeutic Riding Center you can contact Tara Okon at 229-434-9087. You can also log on to Hunny Pot's website.

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