Healing with horses

Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center is a non-profit agency that helps hundreds of people of all backgrounds every year.

Animals are a great source of therapy.

In Boone County, Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center, helps hundreds of people each year.

The movements of the horses help simulate normal walking for a person for a person who lost that ability.

It's a place for therapy, but it's also a place of happiness and joy.

"I've seen a lot of miracles happen out here, i've seen a lot of people's lives change," Karen Grindler said.

Grindler founded Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center 26 years ago.

"I had a lady run up to the arena a couple of weeks ago and said 'Joey just said look, Cedar Creek' when they were pulling down the road...And I said, 'oh great'...and she said 'no, no, no, he's never made a sentence...So she's like crying, and then I'm crying," Grindler said.

Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center provides therapy to hundreds of riders of all ages and backgrounds each year.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Will Myers has developmental delays and is one of those riders.

At first climbing up to ride on such a big horse was terrifying.

"It's always hard as a parent to watch your kid cry. The gut instinct is you want to run and save them and get them out of that situation," Will's mom, Molly Myers said.

But now, will has become quite the equestrian.

"Everytime, once he gets up there and gets going, he really loves it," Molly said.

The horses at Cedar Creek have allowed molly to watch her son discover abilities he never knew he had.

"Since starting, he has started to walk and we've also noticed some more core strength, plus just overall able to engage more and he really enjoys the horses," Molly said.

"For a lot of our riders, it's the self confidence, the self esteem and then there's that relationship that all of our riders build with their horse," Grindler said. "It's their friend, it doesn't judge them, it loves them unconditionally week after week and we see a lot of our riders blossom and grow just from that trusting relationship that they build."

For many, riding is a great equalizer in life.

"It's a chance to participate in a very difficult sport and be good at it," Grindler said.

Throughout the years, Karen Grindler has seen it all, enough she said, to write a book.

"It happens all of the time, kids will take their first steps at Cedar Creek or because of Cedar Creek," Grindler said. "They will make their first words, whether it's a sentence or 'hello mom', 'I love my horse'. The horse is the catalyst, the horse is the therapist."

For Will and Molly Myers, Cedar Creek is a place where dreams are endless and acheiving them is possible and probable.

"Our plan is to keep going," Molly said. "It still helps with strengthening. It helps with his core muscles and also, he's walking now but it will help us kind of get a run and build up those muscles."

It's a place the Myers say is irreplaceable.

"We change lives each session for the better," Grindler said.

Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center is a non-profit agency and operates on donations from small groups or individuals.

There are three 8-week sessions, in the spring summer and fall.

To learn how to become a volunteer or to donate, click here.

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