Black Fox Equestrian Center has launched SpiritHorse at Black Fox, a therapeutic riding to benefit special needs children.
SpiritHorse, is an award-winning developmental program that pairs special needs individuals with specially trained horses to accomplish equine assisted healthcare therapy.
The local riding center, which also breeds, raises, trains and shows the Ponies Of The Americas breed is committed to advancing the SpiritHorse mission to “assist individuals with special needs in reaching their full potential through interaction with horses, without cost to the families we serve,” said Darlene Poteet, director of the facility and the local program.
“SpiritHorse at Black Fox is very different from those programs provided by the majority of therapeutic riding centers in the United States. While many centers offer recreational therapy, SpiritHorse International has developed the more difficult and ultimately more successful path of equine-assisted healthcare,”
“When SpiritHorse was founded,” Poteet continued, “there were no specific industry methods that addressed each type of disability. To pursue the healthcare path, SpiritHorse International studied, developed and trained on specific methods that work best with certain disorders like developmental delays, autism, cerebral palsy, stroke, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.”
The SpiritHorse Program was selected for the Reader’s Digest “Make Your Mark” Award, the Texas Health Resources Community Service Award and was the recipient of the highest honor of the Servant Leadership Award from the Alliance for Healthcare Excellence.
Black Fox Equestrian Center riding instructors Emily Shelton, Kayla Lee Davis and Kristie Mundt, all recently earned equine-assisted Healthcare Certification license from SpiritHorse International in Texas.
The three instructors are specially situated to help bring about success. Shelton is the head trainer and a horse show coach, as well as co-owner of the Equestrian Center.
Davis has a degree in early childhood development and is the center’s basic horsemanship instructor. She has experience teaching autistic children and leads the program developed to serve their specific needs.
Mundt is a certified horse trainer with a degree in Equine Studies from Virginia Intermont College and Colorado State University and works with the handicapped riders and with the training of the horses used for therapeutic riding.
SpiritHorse at Black Fox has been fully licensed and accredited by SpiritHorse International of Corinth, Texas, and adheres to the specific guidelines and procedures for implementing the SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Program. They presently offer programs for children with disabilities and children with terminal illnesses, and hope to expand their services to other disadvantaged or challenged groups.
Black Fox relies solely on gifts from caring individuals, corporations and foundations, to offer these valuable services in the Southeast Tennessee, Western North Carolina and North Georgia areas.