Maury Magic Riders: Using Horse Therapy to Enrich the Lives of Those With Special Needs

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Maury Magic Riders

Maury Magic Riders is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization located in Columbia, Tennessee. Since 1998, they have been bringing the magic of horse therapy to people of all ages (from two years old through adulthood) with disabilities such as Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Autism and a wide range of other learning disorders. Maury Magic Riders also works with individuals who have had strokes and impaired mobility.

If you think it’s “just horseback riding” – think again! Maury Magic Riders is affiliated with an organization known as PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International). PATH has been promoting safe and effective therapeutic riding in the United States since 1969 and currently helps over 69,000 individuals with special needs throughout the world each year through horse therapy.

Horseback riding has been found to be beneficial for physical, mental and emotional health for those with disabilities. It provides the opportunity of independence and mobility, not to mention, a great time. Maury Magic Riders have a mission to provide individuals with disabilities a therapeutic horseback program that emphasizes growth and development through their educational and recreational activities. Therapy provides an all-encompassing experience of fun, listening and following instruction, caring for horses and completing tasks given to each rider that improves the delicate coordination of hearing, analyzing and taking action to complete each task.

Since 1998, Maury Magic Riders have been changing lives in the local community. Let’s explore a few of these local impacts they have had:

Noah – Noah has been challenged with ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome from two and a half years of age. He is grown now and pursuing a degree at our local community college. When asked how Maury Magic Riders impacted him, he said he gained self-confidence with each week as he accomplished tasks given to him during his riding sessions. He received so much from this program that he eventually became a volunteer to help others grow and succeed through horse therapy.

Tammy – Tammy’s family has seen major improvements from various exercises done during her riding sessions that have benefited her fine and gross motor skills. Not only does she receive these benefits but she looks forward to riding every week because she has such a great time. She adores her horse as well as the volunteers she gets to meet with and socialize every week during her sessions.

Olivia – I had the pleasure of personally speaking with Olivia’s father, Rick. We discussed the various challenges for Olivia on a day-to-day basis and how Maury Magic Riders have benefited their family. Olivia adores all of the horses but, like the other riders, she has her favorite. She has been in and out of therapy with Maury Magic Riders since she was about 4, she is now 23. Horse therapy motivates her to improve in difficult areas while enjoying her time with the volunteer instructors. They have seen improvements in Olivia’s confidence, her speech volume and clarity, in addition to other areas of concern. Olivia’s smile and engagement with instructions while I was watching her session really says everything about how Maury Magic Riders impacts our community. A beaming smile from ear to ear, as she accomplished each task assigned to her by the instructors, was contagious. I found myself cheering her on and celebrating her victories as I looked on.

Volunteering

This entire program relies on partnerships between Maury Magic Riders, the horses, the riders and volunteers. They are currently seeking out more volunteers to keep this program running smoothly. Current volunteers are from all walks of life (from pageant queens to retirees) and range in age from 14 to 75. Volunteers are necessary for riding sessions to continue and Maury Magic Riders is currently looking for new volunteers.

There is no prior horse experience needed. They will provide a workshop to train new volunteers that will help lead the horse and also someone who will side-walk to ensure the rider sits on the horse properly for the duration of the lesson. Should you have prior horse experience, they are also looking for volunteers to help exercise and to assist with the continuous training of the horses. In addition to horse-related volunteering, Maury Magic Riders is also looking for volunteers to help maintain the property.

Maury Magic Riders hosts lessons in cycles. Each session runs for 8 weeks. Riders can join either Tuesday or Thursday lessons with time slots being 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm. Each lesson is about one hour. New volunteer orientation is done on a day prior to each session start and takes approximately 2-3 hours.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can fill out the Volunteer Application.

For more information regarding Maury Magic Riders you can follow the links below:

2 COMMENTS

  1. As the VP and volunteer coordinator for Maury Magic Riders, I want to personally thank you for taking the time to learn about our program and bring it to the public’s attention. I have been volunteering with this group for going on 14 yrs and love seeing the joy it brings to not only the riders but the parents and volunteers as well.

  2. Cindi, it was our pleasure to come out! We appreciate you and all of the volunteers impacting our community with such joy.

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