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Siouxland hospice patient gets the chance to ride a horse as part of ‘equine therapy’

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Those who use equine therapy say horses have a special way of becoming therapeutic to some people. And one Siouxland woman got a glimpse of that happiness Tuesday.

Mary Cornelius has spent a good part of her life around horses, and on Tuesday she had the opportunity to get back on a horse with the help of some family and friends.

Mary has always loved horses. A patient of Care Initiatives Hospice, Mary spends her days at a nursing home in Correctionville. Her daughter Carol discovered a way to get her mom back into a barn.

“I get these newsletters from Medscape. And they were talking about stroke victims that even after five years had positive results from equine therapy. And I thought, ‘Why haven’t thought of this myself? I have a horse. We had horses growing up,’” said Carol Millage, Mary’s Daughter.

Carol took the idea to Care Initiatives Hospice who jumped on board. She then reached out to Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School, which has provided therapeutic riding in Siouxland since 1984.

“When we brought up this horse thing, she just like started talking a lot more got a lot more engaged. And just much, you know, just blossomed in the last month, this whole idea of doing the horse thing was very exciting for her,” said Millage.

On a very special Tuesday afternoon, Mary was able to ride a horse named Snickers for about ten minutes. A smile filled her face, and she already said she wants to come back to ride again.

“She has such a life in history with the animal that we don’t even know. But we can see a little spark of it in her eyes. So what she takes away is much bigger than what we even know. So the little bit that we get to help her and experience that and bring all of that back in the joy that you get to see just a glimpse of is incredible to be a part of,” said Brooke McBride, STARS Executive Director.

It was a “Quality of Life” event that brought joy to Mary and everyone around her.

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