Every Sunday, Logan Reggio and her family make the trip to Port Jervis.
There, Logan gets to do one of her favorite things - tend to and ride horses.
“It’s really fun and I have fun doing it and I recommend it to the little ones,” said Logan.
Logan has cognitive and physical disabilities and being able to work with these animals gives her a chance to both destress and develop social cues, according to Lauren Bryceland, Founder and President of Victory Hill Therapuetic Horsemanship.
“Our job is to really prepare them to live independently one day. So we just provide them with all different types of therapy; physical therapy, speech therapy, social skills, the list goes on and on," said Bryceland. "And they don’t even know we’re doing it because they just think they’re here to work with horses and ride horses and we just kind of sneak it in there.”
Bryceland worked at a different horse therapy center in Pennsylvania, but the center experienced financial issues due to COVID-19 and her position was eliminated.
Not wanting to stop doing this work to help differently abled people, as well as veterans, Bryceland found a silver lining to all this.
“Having my own center? I knew it was something I always wanted to do, but I loved my previous job so much at a different center, that I couldn’t imagine leaving there. So once I had no choice and had to leave that program, the door just opened for me to start my own program. So, very, very excited to be doing that,” said Bryceland.
Logan and 14 others come here throughout the week to learn how to take care of the horses. Then the fun part - taking them out to the obstacle course.
There they put what they’ve learned about these animals to the test, controlling them around barrels and traffic cones.
Logan’s family says their daughter has learned a lot here.
“Any child or adult with special needs, it makes a huge difference in their life. I think it builds confidence and they feel independent. I’ve seen a huge growth in Logan’s independence, working with the horses,” said Lauren Reggio, Logan's mom.
And Logan is inclined to agree with her mom.
“It feels good, it brings back memories,” said Logan.
This initiative is made possible by the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan. Visit https://cfosny.org if you'd like to help, or learn more.