The Jackson Hole Therapeutic Riding Association wrapped up its 20th season Friday.
The nonprofit organization started with three women and a couple of horses, but now it has 6 certified instructors and a dozen horses. JHTRA provides therapy for a wide array of people as old as 68. Many riders receiving therapy have emotional, behavioral, cognitive and physical limitations.
"We change the quality of life for so many people," said Executive Director Donna Johnsen. "100 people a week."
Johnsen said improved focus, balance and just plain happiness are a few of the several benefits of therapeutic riding.
“Here on a horse they can stay focused because they’re just having a wonderful time, and they’re actually getting therapy,” said Johnsen.
While instructors are relied on to guide the children, it’s volunteers that keep the nonprofit going. Susan Morriss is just one of the 200 volunteers who donate their time.
“During their lunch hour they’ll come over and volunteer during their lunch hour and go back to work,” said Morriss.
Volunteers and riders will have to wait six months, then instruction will pick back up in April.