LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — In a day and age that has been filled with so much darkness and despair, there is hope inside the Kentucky Horse Park.
"There is just something about a horse, " said Toby Cross, the program manager for Central Kentucky Riding for Hope.
For 40 years, Central Kentucky Riding for Hope has been that bright spot for those who need it. Riders come to the therapeutic horsemanship program to help with their unique challenges -- anything from PTSD to autism or physical limitations -- and they learn to ride.
"I just love watching them grow and develop and watching them become the best versions of themselves and use a horse to do it," Cross said.
Cross has watched riders grow in confidence and ability over the years. She said riding a horse is therapeutic both physically and emotionally as the horse serves almost as a mirror to the rider. But she said the most healing aspect is that intangible, spiritual bond the rider and horse form when together.
"Throughout time, you know, way back in Greek time and as far back documented as there are quote-unquote modern horses, humans and horses have worked side by side," Cross said of the relationship between rider and horse.
Through the pandemic, all lessons have been converted to half-hour private sessions for their riders who range in ages from 4 to 90, but the mission has never changed. Four decades in, the nonprofit is still providing that bit of hope it always set out to create.
"You can have this place and this building and this space on this property, and you can come here and kind of let go of whatever happened before," Cross said.
Click here for more information on Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, including fundraisers and special events in honor of their 40th anniversary.
CKRH also offers internships in a variety of areas. Those internships are targeted toward college students but are open to anyone interested. More information can also be found on their website.