Horse therapy in NJ helps children with special needs

LOGAN TWP., Pa. - April 16, 2014

Families who have loved ones with varying levels of abilities and disabilities were invited to an open house at the South Jersey Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program at Dream Park.

For John D'Ambra's daughter Monica, it makes her more aware of her body and surroundings.

"It has built her confidence a whole lot and her posture. She was always slumped over before and now her posture is way better," said D'Ambra.

Kara Grady suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child.

"Strengthens my ankle. I felt it helped my back out and my core," said Grady.

Through the special connection that is formed with a horse, Dream Park works to improve their self-esteem and overall well-being.

This was Larry Fleming Jr.'s first time here but his dad says the program has already given his son strength and understanding.

"I feel happy. When I was 5 years old, I rode a pony from the zoo and from then I'm not afraid, I can do it," said Larry Fleming Jr.

"It makes him think more, gives him encouragement," said Larry Fleming Sr.

Tracy Biggie's son suffers from Cerebral Palsy but that didn't keep him off a horse.

"As long as he has fun and maybe experiences something he wouldn't have otherwise, that's enough," said Biggie.

Terry Lewis founded this program last summer.

"They get so much that is rewarding from it, as do I, and all the volunteers here," said Lewis.

Currently therapeutic horse-back riding is offered at Dream Park once a week but the hope is to expand that to benefit more riders.

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