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Animal therapy? A horse, of course

Little Guy, a therapy horse at EquAbility - seeming to reflect on his work. Photo Submitted.

Little Guy, a therapy horse at EquAbility - seeming to reflect on his work. Photo Submitted.

— The horses of Saratoga County are known mostly for racing, but there are some who go by another game – therapy.

The people and horses at EquAbility Inc., an equine therapy organization located in Middle Grove, know a thing or two about helping others so it is almost fitting that Ballston Spa National Bank would want to sponsor a Community Fun Day to support them. The event will be held Sunday, June 10, from11 a.m. through 4 p.m. at the bank’s Greenfield Center office at 3060 Route 9N.

Susan M. Slovic, marketing director of Ballston Spa National Bank, said sponsoring the event was a good fit for her organization, which tries to get involved in the communities where it does business.

“They (staff) recognized the opportunity to provide a fun event for the community while raising funds to support a worthy cause,” said Slovic.

Highlights of the day include food, a petting zoo, a K9 rescue demonstration and the chance to meet some of EquaAbility’s miniature horses. Admission is free.

At EquaAbility, horses are able to help provide various therapies, including those in the physical and psychological/cognitive areas, with the aid of trained handlers and therapists. While riding the horses is a large part of therapy, those who are unable to ride still benefit from caring for the horses.

EquAbility, a non-for profit organization (part of Clover RidgeFarm) was started in 1995 by Barbara Diamond. Her knowledge of equine therapy stems from over 20 years of working extensively with the animals and attending conferences and programs on the subject. She has worked with Wildwood School and the Centers for Disability Services, among others to offer equine therapy,

She said that working with those who have special needs and horses “is in her blood”.

“I’ve seen from the outside the changes that come over folks who are put on a horse. … The quiet ones come out of their shells and the challenged ones mind their p’s and q’s. It’s an incredible motivator for behavior. They don’t get to control a lot of other things in their lives but they can control a great big horse,” said Diamond.

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