Just imagine being locked in your body, unable to get it to do what you want. For children and adults with special needs, for veterans and youth at risk, Therapeutic Riding Institute (TRI) uses the healing power of the horse to help unlock the mind and body.
Dr. Ed Hughes, a radiation oncologist at First Dayton CyberKnife, recalls, “I began my career in pediatric oncology, so I have seen first-hand how, children especially, respond to the power of touch and the benefits of movement. The combination of caring touch and fluid movement that occurs while on the horse helps these riders bridge the gap and make the connection between mind and body.” These benefits carry over into everyday life for TRI’s students. Many TRI riders have breakthroughs during their riding lessons that they have not been able to accomplish during traditional therapy sessions.
“Miracles happen in our arena every day,” says TRI’s Executive Director Marleen Milkis.
“As our first scholarship donor, Dr. Hughes helped TRI provide classes to families who could otherwise not participate due to financial strain. These students who may be suffering from autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome, pervasive development disorder or other special needs, have received therapeutic benefits through the healing power of the horse, allowing them to achieve individual physical and emotional goals,” says Milkis. Through the generous support of donors like Dr. Hughes, TRI grew from serving 89 people in 2011 to 120 in 2014 and the outlook for 2015 is even greater. TRI uses over 200 volunteers to help facilitate their programs.
“I feel it’s my duty to give back. What I love about TRI is I know that the money that I give is going directly to help these children and adults,” says Hughes.
“The scholarship money is only used to pay for their therapeutic riding sessions and nothing else. Every time I see TRI in action, I know that I am a part of the amazing work being done here. I can really see it in the student’s faces. They light up when they are around the horses. It is sheer joy. ”
Dr. Hughes will have an opportunity to see these faces again at the August 23rd FriendRaiser for TRI. This event is the signature fundraiser for this 41 year old organization. This year’s theme is “Rhinestones and Cowboys”.
Learn more about the Therapeutic Riding Institute.