Cross-posted from The Tennessean
Report by SHERRY MITCHELL
HENDERSONVILLE, TN (Oct. 4, 2010) — Born with cerebral palsy, which has left her unable to walk, talk or eat, except through a feeding tube, Mary McCauley has certainly had her share of uphill challenges.
But when the young girl is around horses, she seems to enjoy life more.
Now, the third-grade Beech Elementary student is the inspiration and namesake for a new therapeutic horse program for special needs children called Mary’s Hope. It all began when Marty Marion, co-director of Marion Stables in Hendersonville, designed a horse cart for Mary, who uses a wheelchair and is unable to physically ride a horse.
The invention was an immediate success.
“It didn’t take long for us to see the impact that it had on Mary,” stable co-director Debbie Smith said. “We all started seeing it, and it dawned on us, this was something we needed to start — a program for special needs children.”
The physical movement of riding in the cart helps children build their core strength, cognitive skills and social awareness, Smith said. Read full report >>