Slinger therapeutic horsemanship program benefits all ages

A church in Slinger has decided to open up to the community in a unique way. Their ranch's new therapeutic horsemanship program benefits kids and adults.

The Cedar Springs Church in Slinger has multiple community outreach programs, especially ones that benefit children with disabilities, like their horsemanship program.

Monica Schaefer is the head instructor at the ranch, putting riders through their therapeutic activities.

"The benefits of riding come into play with the horse's movement mimicking the natural human gait, so whether a rider has something physical, emotional, or mental, just the sheer part of being on a horse and having that movement is already giving them the physical benefits," said Schaefer.

After seeing the benefits of the small-scale program, the church has opened up the ranch to not only the Washington County community but all of southeastern Wisconsin.

"It gives them a place to come to connect with a creature who is very forgiving and accepting," said Rick Shaw, executive director of Cedar Springs Ranch. "When you take something like that, and you have a bond with them and you’re able to share that with them by getting on their back, that’s a huge step."

What was once miniature has now become a fully functioning horsemanship program, providing therapeutic activities for people with disabilities and special needs, veterans and first responders.

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"A lot of the mental benefit comes from the connection that happens, but it is really that innate sense that they have to connect with us in any way that the human mind is ready," said Schaefer. "Some people call it the magic of the horse."

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