Saddle up: Conway group uses horseback rides as mental and physical therapy

THERAPEUTIC RIDING OPEN HOUSE

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A local organization is working to help people of all ages and backgrounds through therapeutic horseback riding.

Myrtle Beach Therapeutic Riding and Vaulting Club and SOS Health Care teamed Saturday up to host an open house with the goal of showing people the benefits of horseback riding at Thurlo Ranch in Conway.

“We have therapeutic lessons and vaulting lessons and I feel like a lot of people don’t know what vaulting is so it’s exciting we are doing a demo to show people,” Victoria Hall, a Myrtle Beach Therapeutic Riding and Vaulting Club volunteer, said.

Students of the program said not only does this help with their physical fitness but also with their mental health allowing them to overcome fears and obstacles.

The two different lessons are offered at Thurlo Ranch in Conway by Amy Albertson who is a certified occupational therapist and decided to incorporate her therapy sessions with what she loves... horses.. so she started Myrtle Beach Therapeutic Riding and Vaulting Club.

What a fun day!! I got to hangout at Thurlo Ranch with the Myrtle Beach Therapeutic Riding + Vaulting Club during the...

Posted by Casey Watson WMBF on Saturday, February 16, 2019

Albertson said they help people on the autistic spectrum, those with down syndrome or who suffer from depression, and many other disorders and can customize each lesson for the student’s needs.

“If families are looking for a fun, recreational outlet for their kids or if they are looking for something to help reach the goals that they have in therapy we can help with that,” Albertson said.

Hall is a Junior at Coastal Carolina University and also on the equestrian team.. she said being around animals has taught the many lessons.. the first one being patience.

“You’re are constantly learning something new so you have to be on your toes and it teaches you to be patient because you are working with a thousand-pound animal that you can’t talk to but you have to find a way to work together and communicate with them,” Hall said. “Since I’ve gone to college, obviously there is a huge amount of stress with school but every time you come out to the barn you have to push that out of the way and forget about it and take a deep breath and let it all go.”

A student at St. James Elementary School told me she has been coming to the ranch for two years and says being around horses has taught her what to do when you’re unsure about a situation.

“Sometimes when a horse stomps his feet or something I’m like ugh okay. I get a little scared. But because they respond to how you act I have to calm down so they don’t freak out,” Kayla Lampkin said.

“Being able to trust something that big and form that bond allows them to form courage and confidence in life,” Albertson said.

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