SUNY Cobleskill’s Equine Therapy Benefits Many

Appeared on TWC News

COBLESKILL, N.Y. — A one of a kind program is being used to help children in the Schoharie Valley.

“My youngest daughter was born with a rare syndrome and she has poor core control, and very bad endurance,” said Katie Rifenbark.

For four-year-old Abby Rifenbark, doing physical activity was out the question. That is until she found the SUNY Cobleskill equine therapy program.

SUNY Cobleskill offers a equine therapy program, and students studying for their certification work with local children, both with disabilities and without.

“It’s probably the most rewarding thing I could ever do with my life,” said Samantha Sykes, a senior at SUNY Cobleskill.

The program can help children with a wide variety of developmental disabilities everything from physical issues to ADHD and autism.

“We have kids that come in and can hardly speak, who are so scared to speak, and then they are on the horse and they don’t stop talking,” said Sykes.

Parents said they can see results in as few as a couple sessions.

TWC Equine Therapy Screenshot“When she runs across the field she doesn’t collapse as much. She can hold herself up a lot more than she used to be able to,” said Rifenbark.

And because the program is training the next generation of equine therapists, the benefits of SUNY Cobleskill’s program will be felt throughout the country.

“It’s really rewarding to think that you are making a difference in someone’s life like that,” said Sykes.

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