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Adults with disabilities take part in Florida equine therapy

A man takes part in equine therapy at the Herd Foundation Equestrian Center in Delray Beach on Sept. 10, 2021.jpg
Posted at 2:17 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 17:17:56-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Group of adults with disabilities are getting a chance to further enhance their social skills at a horse ranch in Delray Beach.

The Herd (Horses, Energy, Reflection and Direction) Foundation located off Conklin Drive, Delray Beach has partnered with the Legal Aid Society to put on programs that will help special needs individuals who have aged out of foster care.

And they hope it will empower them successfully live independently.

"It's been like night and day in terms of their progress and development," said Sarah Alsofrom, the director of community relations for GL Homes.

For eight weeks, these young adults have gotten to do equine therapy.

Rhonda Frtizshall is the co-founder of this non-profit, and its aim is to transform their lives through the healing powers of horses.

"To watch somebody come through the gate and feel may be depressed, anxious, lonely, isolated and when they leave they look like a different person," Frtizshall said.

Some sessions include learning how to care for them, walking alongside a horse to riding atop one.

The group is part of the Legal Aid’s guardian advocacy project.

The project is their court-appointed guardian advocate for young adults and individuals under 60 who have a developmental disability and are without anyone to care for them.

"They have no friends. They have no families to care for them. So our concern is that without us some of them can definitely become homeless. So we are trying to even expand the program more," said Robert Bertisch, Esq., the executive director of the Legal Aid Society.

"To make sure that they are socialized and to be able to grow emotionally and socially and to be able to progress in terms of their interaction with others," Alsofrom said.

A way to achieve personal development is through the unique relationship between humans and horses.

"When you build trust and connection with a horse it’s life-changing," Frtizshall said.

Josh Navarro at WPTV first reported this story.