Horseback Therapy Helps the Disabled

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A Texas organization is using therapeutic horseback riding to help improve the quality of life for those with disabilities.

The SIRE Therapeutic Equestrian Centers help disabled riders from ages 3 to 85.

Therapists guide the riders while they work on upper body strength, balance, and coordination.

"The movement of the horse actually stimulates all the muscles in the body and the organs in the body the same way we would if we were walking a lot," explained head instructor Jeanie Gardner. "So we get huge results from the movement of the horse."

"You'll see kids who can't sit up in a chair, that can sit up straight on horseback," added Sire worker Mike Dillingham.

"[We see] people with all kinds of disabilities -- mostly children, but some adults -- with all kinds of disabilities," he added. "Everything from autism to cerebral palsy, to brain trauma. We even ride some disabled veterans."

The idea of therapy on horseback dates back to the Roman times.

Wounded soldiers were put on horses to help them recover quickly.

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