Horse-assisted therapy brings hope to children with special need - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Horse-assisted therapy brings hope to children with special needs

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With horse-assisted therapy, many Siouxland children have a new outlet to mend their hearts and bodies. With horse-assisted therapy, many Siouxland children have a new outlet to mend their hearts and bodies.
SPENCER, Iowa (KTIV) -

Coping can be one of greatest challenges we face in life. It often takes time to heal, and time to let go.

With horse-assisted therapy, many Siouxland children have a new outlet to mend their hearts and bodies. More than two decades ago, this therapy program started as a service project with the 4-H program.

"It's a totally volunteer-based program that offers therapeutic-based riding, actually hypo-therapy, for children in the area with special needs," said Sue Laue of Reins of Hope.

Because of a lack of support, Reins of Hope slowly fizzled out. But after a long absence, the program restarted three years ago, partnering with the Spencer Hospital.

"They do triage there with them. They figure out what their needs are and then they bring them here," said Laue.

For these young equestrians, the time they spend with animals can make life easier. Often, it's physical therapy, but the emotional part's just as important.

To supplement the therapy, volunteer side walkers go alongside the horses and provide whatever the horses or riders need.

"They're really actively involved, not just kind of hanging out," said Laue.

Most of the time, the group sessions are small, designed to create an intimate setting for interaction with the horses, to help the children feel better. It's a time the kids, and their horses, can embrace.

"The horses enjoy it as much as the kids enjoy it," said Laue.

Reins of Hope is holding its first fundraiser Saturday evening at the Clay County fairgrounds, starting with a barbecue at 5 p.m. That will be followed by a barn dance at 8 p.m.

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