RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) -- A special ranch in Russellville is helping kid with disabilities experience a chance to experience riding a horse while receiving physical and mental therapy.
"We opened our doors in '08 and since then, we've grown from 13 riders now we have 62 clients and nine on a waiting list," says Jodi Kusturin.
Kusturin and Dana Warren are physical therapists who came together to form the Equestrian Zone, a physical, occupational and speech therapy center that treats children with the help of a few gentle giants.
"The movement of the horse is most similar to that of humans. It is a multi-dimensional movement of the pelvis and that triggers the child's body to make it feel like its walking. That tells the neurological system how to walk or helps it to walk," says Kusturin.
Kristi Bartlett knows the power of hippotherapy. Her daughter has been a client of the Equestrian Zone for three years.
"Samantha is twelve. She was born with a rare chromosome deletion. Her developmental age is anywhere between 9 and 12 months. We just kind of happened upon it and I wasn't really sure what was going to happen with it and it turned out to be one of the best things that's ever happened to us," says Bartlett.
Bartlett says Samantha is learning to walk, a goal she may have never reached without a horse.
"As a parent, you have a child that can't sit up by herself but she's out there riding a horse. She's having a good time and its helping her," says Bartlett.
"With the horse, there is always something different going on and the child stays engaged throughout the whole session and it's hard to beat that as a therapist in the clinic," says Dana Warren.
Kusturin says she has seen more miracles through hippotherapy than any other treatment. She says she has even seen a child speak their first word, "GO" from on top of a horse.
Find out how you can help Equestrian Zone by checking out their website.