Hope on Horseback Volunteers Keep Therapy Horses Active During Winter
At a non-profit in Fairview, a group of volunteers are spending the winter months entertaining therapy horses.
They call themselves the Polar Bear Club.
Hope on Horseback, formerly known as TREC, offers equine therapy classes for children and adults with special needs, “It's amazing, the bond between a horse and a human can be more therapeutic and more healing than going for a medical treatment or psychological treatment,” said Brenda Borgia, the Volunteer Coordinator with Hope on Horseback.
But there are not classes during the winter, so volunteers stop by twice a week to exercise and socialize with the 11 therapy horses, “I truly enjoy it, from grooming the horse, to walking, wherever they need me,” said Polar Bear Club Volunteer, Dale Schlosser. “We enjoy having them out here and giving them the training that they need,” Schlosser continued.
During the regular session, the horses are used on a daily basis.
So, during the winter months, the volunteers take the horses through obstacle courses, games, and ride them, to keep them sharp and ready for regular classes, which start in the spring, “They get some pent up energy because they're not being exercised, and like humans they need to be mobile as well, loosen up their joints, and they also miss the human companionship during that non class time,” said Borgia.
“During the winter when there's no riders here, we're getting them ready and exercising them and learning ourselves,” said Polar Bear Club Volunteer, Cris Thomas. “The horses are always fun and adventuresome there's always something going on, so it's a great way to spend a few hours,” Thomas added, while saddling a therapy horse named Dixie.
Hope on Horseback uses therapy horses to help children with disabilities, and adults, like veterans or cancer survivors.
The organization is always looking for volunteers or donations to continue their efforts. To learn more, you can call them at 814-474-5276, or visit their website.