7 Star Therapeutic Riding Center held their first ever Kids Bonanza at Thompson Park Sunday. It was a community driven event with 20 vendors including Amarillo Crime Stoppers, there making their kids ID cards and Home Depot, who was helping little builders. They also had face painting, water games, plasma car races and bounce houses for families to enjoy.
The fundraiser was to support 7 Star and the 70 clients they have being treated by therapeutic riding or equine assisted psycho therapy.
"Horses can sense your energy and your emotions. They can show you things about yourself that maybe you're not aware that you're putting out there," said Courtnie Stevenson, 7 Star interim executive director.
Stevenson said they use horses to help anyone with emotional, mental or physical needs from age two to 92. The mental and physical benefits of utilizing horses for therapy vary with the condition(s) being treated, she said.
"There are unbelievable physical benefits like gaining strength in your core, arms and legs. It's the ability of being able to go from not being able to sit up on your own to being able to or being able to walk when you weren't previously able to," she said. "Emotionally, we have clients that find that it helps them by calming them; they see less panic attacks, less anxiety and they're better able to sleep at night by dealing with things out in the arena with the horses."
Rachael Wade has been taking her 11-year-old son Dillon to 7 Star since 2013 and said she saw the benefits almost instantly.
"I've seen the miracles of what equine therapy can do," she said. "He has Cerebral Palsy so he doesn't walk on his own. When we started he couldn't sit in a chair without support all the way around him. His posture improved immediately about three weeks in."
Wade said continued therapy helped Dillon transfer what he learned at the center to other areas in his life.
"He started sitting on the bench in the cafeteria at school with all the other kids to eat lunch. That was such a huge miracle," she said.
Wade said equine therapy also helps with her son's ADHD, anxiety and self-esteem.
"It's really amazing to see the benefits that people are receiving from what we get to help them with everyday," Stevenson said. "The horses really change their life and give them an opportunity to find healing when maybe they thought their wasn't any way that they'd ever have a different life."