Children's Horse Fair

By Mitzi Loera
Newswest 9

They were back in the saddle again. The children from the Midland Children's Rehab Center held a horse fair.

On Saturday, proud parents sat and watched the progress their children are making due to the hippotherapy program .

Sitting tall.

"We probably have between 35 and 70 kids who participate every year in our program," said Brooke Mueller; the Executive Director of the Midland Children's Rehab Center.

Maneuvering the course like pros, these kiddos make it look easy.

"We see a whole spectrum of children with very severe physical disabilities to kids who are struggling with things that are perceived to be more social emotional kinds of things," Mueller said.

Whatever the condition the hippotherapy helps with strengthening muscles, and sharpening sensory skills by combining occupational and physical therapy.

"Participation is by evaluation, we pick the kids that we believe can benefit physically, emotionally, mentally, socially from a hippotherapy experience that will advance them in meeting their goals related to whatever disability they are dealing with," Mueller said.

Brownie is just one of the many horses used in the hippotherapy, which parents say when their children take part in this therapy they see a great progress.

"Her confidence she's opened up more make friends at school for two years at school, she wasn't able to talk to friends or talk to her teachers, so when her teachers called on her to answer a question she was too shy," said Donna Taylor, who's daughter is involved with the program.

"We have kids who have cerebral palsy very severely, but who come out here, and are quite excited about the opportunity to get on the back of a horse, and demonstrate that they can hold their heads up for a few minutes," Mueller said.

In Saturday's horse fair, children demonstrated the rewards they have reaped from the therapeutic riding program. Donna Taylor knows her daughter Tracey looks forward to her therapy every time.

"We are thrilled, we can not sing the praises loud enough, the benefits that Tracey has seen there. She's really bonded with the animals, I think they really sense there needs. They sense their needs, and they communicate on a level we are not aware of," Taylor said.

"And it's very exciting to see our kids make changes make progress learn new skills, and to be excited about their successes," Mueller said.