Be the Change: SunCatcher Therapeutic Riding Academy

Published: Jul. 29, 2018 at 8:20 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Horses are utilized for many things - agriculture, transportation, sport - but these trusty steeds have a bigger purpose.

One local charity is using powerful creatures to help children with special needs.

We hit the stables to find out how in this week's Be the Change.

SunCatcher Therapeutic Riding Academy is a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with special needs.

They start off their sessions with some stretches and go onto riding around the arena... practicing stopping and reigning.

"SunCatcher volunteers work with three to five riders every session, and horses like Merle here help riders develop many skills."

"Some of the skills that horse riding helps is their balance, coordination, their flexibility. All of those kind of things many people with special needs need help with," Jean Johnson said.

Not only does horseback riding benefit riders physically, but it also helps them mentally and socially.

Board President Jean Johnson says riders seem to relax more, one of them even started talking when they haven't before.

Johnson says kids, teens, and adults love doing the activities.

Katrina Lim asks, "So why do you come back week after week?"

"Because I really love riding horses. It's like one of my favorite things to do," Jackie Schofield said, 30 years old, rides horses at SunCatcher.

"I love horses. I love rodeos, kind of jazzy a little bit, and I love it," Chloe Baldwin said, 21 years old, rides horses at SunCatcher.

SunCatcher tends to riders with many disabilities... including autism, down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and Fragile X Syndrome.

"When you see the rider, when you see them smile and how much more confidence it gives them and helps them physically and mentally, it really does fill you with pride," Jean Johnson said.

SunCatcher is purely run through donations, grants, and fundraisers.

And they're always looking for more volunteers to help with chores on the ranch.

If you have an idea for next week's Be the Change, send an email to