Equine Therapy Center continues making “strides”

FRANKLIN CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Healing Strides is an equine therapy center in Franklin County that provides help to people in the community. But recently, they’ve needed a little help in return.

“Everything we do revolves around the horse, if we don’t have a horse, we don’t have a program,” said Executive Director, Carol Young.

One of the riders, Melinda Rutrough was getting ready for a therapy session with Arnie on Thursday, and Betsy Osborne, her instructor, was right by her side.

“She comes every single day willing to work hard, she comes every single day knowing she’s going to have fun,” said Osborne. “She knows not only is this something that is fun and exciting, but it’s also something that is benefiting her in her life in helping her achieve the goals that she has in wanting to walk again.”

But without Arnie, Rutrough wouldn’t have these same opportunities. After one horse died, and three others got sick recently, the center had to close for a week.

“We had to have all of our horses looked at and checked, they all got a clean bill of health,” Young said. “The two that went to Tech returned, the one that stayed was able to get treatment here with our local vet from Pell Animal Clinic. VT was awesome in helping get the two down there to recover. But without those horses, we don’t have a program.”

Young says now, they’re looking forward.

“So the next step is to really make sure we are financially in a place if something like this does happen, that we can go ahead and make sure money’s in place to make sure we can take care of that,” she said.

Because for the people like Melinda Rutrough, it’s more than just a place to ride, but a place to heal.

“My strength, and it seems like it’s helping,” Rutrough said. “It’s fun!”

For more information on Healing Strides, and the work they do, visit their website at http://www.healingstridesofva.org/index.html .