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2 Kansas women start therapeutic horseback riding nonprofit

November 11, 2018

OLPE, Kan. (AP) — Two women in eastern Kansas are starting a therapeutic horseback riding initiative for veterans, individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder and community members who want to learn how to ride.

Erin Norton and Misty Williams recently registered their nonprofit, Hearts n Hooves of the Flint Hills, the Emporia Gazette reported. The nonprofit owns about eight horses, including several rescues.

They’re applying for grants and hope to raise about $600,000 to go toward hiring a licensed therapist, purchasing land and constructing facilities. Norton and Williams aim to build and start offering services within a year.

The women launched the initiative after learning about a number of suicides involving soldiers at the Fort Riley Military Base.

Therapeutic horseback riding can offer veterans something special and fun to do, while improving their mental health, Norton said.

Hearts n Hooves would also like to use the practice to treat a variety of conditions, including autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and PTSD. Norton and Williams have discussed offering special services for senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Norton said therapeutic horseback riding appeals to all ages, including community members looking for a healthy activity.

“Our community needs it,” Norton said.

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Information from: The Emporia (Kan.) Gazette, http://www.emporiagazette.com/

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