Natchez Trace Stables Foundation is having their grand opening celebration this Saturday with food and games and music and of course horses. although It’s fun for the kids who come there and learn to ride, there is very little “horsing around” about WHY they are there.
Good reporting is supposed to answer the “W” questions. One of those is “where?” The “where” of this story is the Natchez Trace Stables in Madison County, just off the Natchez Trace, naturally, about 10 miles above Highway 43.
Another “W” is “what.” I’ll let Valerie Steel, the Director, tell you what the “what” is.
“We are the Natchez Trace Stables Foundation," said Director Valerie Steel. "We are an agency, a 501C3 that provides equine therapy for special needs children and circumstances.”
Then there is the question that turns all of these facts from a Rolodex card into a story. “Why?” Why is equine therapy important and why have these folks at Natchez Trace Stables dedicated their lives to providing it?
“The kids come out here. We work with them on an assessment and develop goals and riding skills for them, riding abilities. And we make it fun for them, added Valerie. "And we want them to become as independent and challenged as possible. And ultimately to have fun and be a kid.”
To have fun and be a kid; special needs children and parents never take that for granted. And for some reason, climbing up on the back of a horse and having fun while training nerve paths to twist your body and coordinate with your eye or just give you a platform to use muscles that refused to be used before, gives youngsters the chance to do that, be a kid.
And when it happens, another “W” is added to the story. One they don’t teach in journalism class, Whoa!!
“I will tell you one of the very first students, when I asked her, she’s a little bit older, she had goals for herself," added Valerie. "And I asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to run like a normal child. She had no strength here to be able to even get herself up on the horse. That was a year ago. This same individual is running down our hill, is getting on the horse by herself,and is walking straighter.”
“Are you seeing miracles?” asked Walt.
“Absolutely. Every single day,” replied Valerie.
There is one more “W”, “who.” And that could be us. Natchez Trace Stables Foundation could use our help with donations and by volunteering, you can get a taste of what it’s all about. This Saturday is their grand opening all day, starting at 10 a.m.
Google them for directions, Natchez Trace Stables Foundation.
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