HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind.-- The mission of Theratails is to help children with special needs take their very first steps or say their first words. Kids are saddling up to face their struggles, but where they’re riding has become more of the challenge.
On days like Friday, when it’s windy, cold, and rainy outside, some kids with special needs are having to go outside for their therapy. That’s why Theratails says they need a new facility.
“We have to close basically from Christmas to spring break,” said C.J. Gregory, the Founder and Physical Therapist at Theratails Riding Center.
Gregory works one-on-one pairing kids up that have autism or down syndrome with a horse that fits their special needs. Theratails provides hippotherapy, which is occupational, speech therapy or physical therapy that uses the horse as a tool to help the kids achieve their goals. It’s a goal-driven therapy.
“The horse will take 2,000 steps every half hour,” explained Gregory. “So, I can give that rider that balance challenge 2,000 times. Here they are happy to do it, anywhere else, if i try to dump something off on them 2,000 times they’d be so mad at me.”
Heather Ludlow is the Vice President of Theratails, but she’s also a parent. Her son Cameron has cerebral palsy and has been riding for six years.
We know when our kids need to get back on the horse. Honestly, when Cameron, my son rides if he doesn’t get to ride for that week, I see it in his whole demeanor,” said Ludlow, “He’s just more on edge and he struggles with ADHD, so concentration is lacking, anxiety is heightened. When they get on the horse all of that changes.”
Cameron’s personality shines through when he steps in the Theratails barn.
“It’s a great benefit for me getting stronger and hopefully making me walk someday,” said Cameron.
However, riding in small circles is not ideal, nor is riding in the cold. Right now, the Theratails barn is unheated, making it difficult to stay open during cold months.
“It does make a difference in the therapy they get,” said Gregory.
To fix this, Theratails is hosting their first ever Boots and Bling Gala in hopes of raising $160,000 for a bigger and warmer arena.
The Boots and Bling Gala will take place on Friday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $55 a person or $300 for six people. There will be music, dinner and an auction. Click here to visit the event Facebook page.
“I want to see them thrive because they can,” said Ludlow, “This place gives them the hope.”
To learn more about Theratails you can visit their website by clicking here.