DG helps visually impaired adults with horse therapy

We are excited to share a new service opportunity we recently became involved in!

Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, Gamma Zeta members now have the opportunity to help visually impaired adults ride horses. When people think of physical activities for blind and visually impaired, horseback riding might not be the first idea that comes to mind. However, riding a horse leads to freedom and self-confidence!

At the beginning of each session, a DG is paired with a visually impaired adult to help them become accustomed to the horse, groom the horse, and lead the horse around.

"We had the opportunity to assist the visually impaired participants with touring the barn and stables, meet the horses, brush and groom their designated horse, and also simply bear witness to the joy of their experiences!" said Colleen Kimball, vice president: programming.
"It was amazing the change in the woman that I was helping because she started out extremely scared of the horses," said Amy Francioni, pictured to the left. "At the beginning she was standing far way from the horse while leaning to touch him, but gradually over time they became more aquatinted making her she feel safe. By the end of our first lesson she was standing next to the horse and holding the lead rope all by herself with out my help. I am so blessed to have been apart of opportunity and to get to see these people experience the love of a horse through their movement rather than their being able see the horses reaction."
"The visually impaired participants impacted me as they displayed an amazing level of trust with these large and often intimidating animals that they had met only minutes before!" said Colleen. "It made me wonder if we are afraid of certain things only based off of looks and stature. Their joy and smiles truly impacted me, and I cannot wait to return to volunteer ! The smell of the horse barn and the laughs of the participants will stay with me forever."

An alumna contacted vice president: Foundation Catherine Pettus about this opportunity. The Baton Rouge alumnae chapter provides the funds for the adults going to therapy.