PEOTONE, Ill. (WLS) -- Since 2007, Victory Reins in Peotone has been offering therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with disabilities.
This non-profit organization has a number of success stories that people have learned about through word-of-mouth.
"We teach them how to play all kinds of games and try to challenge them," said owner and founder Sandy Michalewicz. "We try to work on their muscle strength, their intellectual abilities, fine motor, gross motor, we have a lot of fun."
Michalewicz started this program because she enjoys working with children and horses.
"I started to bring them home from church, and then I decided to go and get a special degree or certification to work with handicapped children because we didn't want to turn anyone away from being able to ride a horse," she said.
Victory Reins has 17 horses and many volunteers.
"We go through a training program here before they get to work with students," Michalewicz said.
They provide therapeutic horseback riding on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
"There is a slight fee for this program, it's $25 for half an hour in the saddle, which incorporates a leader and two sidewalkers, depending on the ability, and they usually sign up for about six weeks so they can see how they like it and we go from there," Michalewicz said.
Chloe, 10, has been coming for four years. She is from Homewood, Ill.
"She can't walk on her own, to be able to get on that horse empowers her," Michalewicz said. "To be able to go wherever she wants to in this arena, it gives her a sense of freedom."
Chloe also has specific goals.
"We already started doing the patterns for Special Olympics," Chloe said.
"I think the horses are so important, and they just give unconditional love, absolutely unconditional love," Michalewicz said.
For more information about Victory Reins, visit http://www.victoryreins.org/.
Victory Reins offers therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities
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