The Smiles Are the Reason

Another season of Therapeutic Riding is underway at Red River Cowboy Church.  Monday was the kickoff with two riding sessions. 

The one thing the Journal heard from many of the volunteers was, “Look at the smile on his face.” Ask someone and they would reply, “I do it for the smiles.”  Adults would tear up at the joy the riders experienced sitting atop a horse and riding around the Cowboy Church arena.

Bro. Clyde Miley said, “This is our fifth season we are starting today.  I am going to get up and ride if I can.”  Miley, who suffered a stroke during the past year, did mount up. He stayed in the saddle for about an hour overseeing the riding and making sure that everyone was safe and had a good time.

As final preparations were underway on Monday afternoon, and as the volunteers and riders were arriving the skies opened up and a heavy rain fell.  There was thunder and lightning and the temperatures dropped followed by a refreshing chilly breeze blowing in from the west.  The most common remark heard at that point was, “I hope we’re getting some of this at my house.”

A stranger walked up and introduced himself.  He is Sean Callahan from Montgomery, LA.  He is the newest volunteer.  Callahan said, “I heard about this and I wanted to come and help out with this unique approach to riding.”  Before he could conclude his conversation with The Journal someone grabbed him and put him to work walking alongside a horse with a young child riding high in the saddle.

The parish 4-H program is also getting involved.  4-H Agent Jacque Fontenot and her daughter Josie came Monday.  They brought Madison Chamberlin and Shirley Boyd with them. Fontenot said, “We are asking for other 4-Hers ages 13 to 18 years old to come with us.”

There are two Therapeutic Riding sessions every Monday afternoon.  Program volunteer Jerry Salley said they need more workers. Salley said, “We have eight riders returning from the spring session and we have several more on a stand-by list. If we can get some more volunteers, then we can accommodate more riders.”

To help out, call Jennifer Freeman at 318-471-6664.  Freeman said, “No experience is necessary.  You don’t have to know how to ride or anything.  We’ll find you a job and train you.  You will get much more out of it than you put in.”

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