One Baldwin City organization is working to make a difference in the lives of adults and children with special needs, and junior Kendra Clark is witnessing these changes firsthand.
According to its website, Midnight Farm “provides year round therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children and adults of all abilities.” Clark is interning and working as a side walker to make sure neither the horse or the rider is harmed during rides.
“I like to see the improvements of the people that I work with,” Clark said. “From week to week, even though they improve on small things, their small improvements will stack up.”
Research shows people with mental disabilities can stimulate their brains while riding horses. The stimulation caused from the movement can help them focus on other things and allow them improve information processing.
“It’s exciting when one week they can finally understand that they need to hold the reins,” Clark said. “And then the next week, they steer their horse.”
For physically disabled people, the perks of riding the horse come from the movement of the horse. As they are riding, the horse’s walk can resemble a human walking. While the hips of the horse are moving, they benefit the physically disabled by engaging their hips and strengthening their muscles.
“Seeing them make progress makes you feel like you’re making a difference in their life,” Clark said.