YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) – A local therapeutic riding program has expanded its ability to help more kids and adults with the power of horses.
A new facility is providing new opportunities for those who may not have had them otherwise.
“It’s been an inexplicable blessing to us,” said Keely Mallory, whose 5-year-old son Rhett rides at Savannah Station.
In just one year, his rides on a Paint mare named Chocolate Sundae have changed his family’s life
“Because of his Down syndrome diagnosis, because of his journey with leukemia, change is hard. New surroundings, new people are hard,” Mallory said. “Initially, there were a lot of tears.”
Rhett is one of about 40 riders who visit Savannah Station regularly.
“He actually started walking about three months ago and I firmly believe that coming to horse class played a role,” said Mallory.
Volunteers have been making miracles happen there since 2013. It started as a mobile program, based in El Reno, that traveled across the metro.
This new location in Yukon, near the turnpike, makes it more accessible and provides more space to ride with more land and a bigger arena.
“This one will allow us to have up to six riders at a time,” said Executive Director Andi Holland.
Riders are able to strengthen their core, improve balance, and work on their state of mind.
They gain self-confidence learning how to rein a horse until they’re able to ride independently.
“The day that we get to unclip them. Wow, what a great day that is because you see that pride well up in them that they’re doing this on their own, and this great big animal is doing what they’re asking them to. Wow, it’s quite a confidence builder,” Holland said.
It also gives families like the Mallorys the type of experiences so many take for granted.
“When you’ve seen your kid go through chemo, specifically, it’s hard and it’s scary and there’s a lot of fear and you know that your kiddo is missing out on things,” said Mallory. “The reason I wanted him to do this is I wanted him to have the opportunity to take part in a typical kid experience and this has given him that.”
Savannah Station will host its grand opening June 19.
It runs on the help of volunteers and they could always use more. If you’d like to volunteer or ride with them, visit https://www.savannahstation.org/