The spring season of Therapeutic Riding has come to an end at Red River Cowboy Church. They concluded Monday with a pizza party celebration.
The program was the idea of Bro. Clyde Miley who worked for 20 years to get a riding program going. Miley believed there was a lot of benefit people with certain needs could get from riding horses. A couple of years ago in 2014 Miley’s dream became a reality.
Since then Miley suffered a stroke and today, he finds himself a participant in and beneficiary of the therapeutic riding program he began. The Journal asked Miley if the program has done for him what he had envisioned for others? Miley said, “a definite yes. The first time I rode they had to help me on, to get my leg over the saddle. Now, I do it by myself.”
During the Monday sessions Miley can be seen on horseback, patrolling the arena, looking out for the other riders. He wants to add assurance that everyone is safe.
One of the coordinators is Cindy Verdun. She said her job was to make people feel at home. What does she get out of it? Verdun said, “Just to be a part of it, watching somebody being blest. You end up being blessed yourself.”
Jerry Salley volunteers to take care of the horses that live at the church. Seven days a week, Salley can be seen feeding and grooming them. He said, “We are at the church every Monday afternoon, rain or shine, we have two riding sessions at 5:00 and 6:00 pm.”
If you don’t know how to ride, Salley said, “We have riding lessons every Friday night. That is separate from the therapeutic riding. Usually about 20 riders show up. It is open to everyone.”
This spring there were ten riders and many volunteers. When they start up again in the fall, Salley says they want to have even more riders. And that means they need more volunteers. The call for volunteers was echoed by Verdun, “You don’t have to know a thing about horses, and you don’t have to go to Cowboy Church. Just show up and we’ll put you to work. We’ll show you what you need to do.”
Salley summed it up. “It is amazing,” he said, “we see people with a physical or mental challenge come to ride. It is worth all the effort to see the results they get, sometimes after just one time riding.”