Horse Play Inc. recently broke ground on restroom facilities near the stables for children to use during their therapy rides. The project has been on the nonprofit’s to-do list for years, according to board member Loretta Christian.
“It means so much that we are getting to break ground on something that we have wanted for the kids for so long,” she said.
“I got involved with Horse Play through the Tullahoma Downtown Lions Club.” Russ Barrett, owner of Barrett Construction Company, said. “We have been donating a little bit through the Lions Club to Horse Play for a while. Lisa Headfield came to our meeting and gave a presentation on some of the things that the nonprofit needed, so building these bathrooms just seemed like the right thing to do.”
“I was able to get the manager out at Lowe’s to jump on board with being able to supply most of everything that we needed at cost,” he added. “Cal Riddle with Smyrna Ready Mix furnished the concrete at no cost. My company is trying to coordinate and provide some labor at no cost to get some bathrooms built for Horse Play at a reasonable price.”
“We are so thankful for Barrett Construction, Lowe’s and Smyrna Ready Mix for doing this for our kids,” Christian said. “If Barrett was not doing it this way, it would have taken us another year or two to raise enough money to build bathrooms ourselves. This is a blessing.”
“We are glad to do it,” Barrett said. “You have to give back to the community. I look forward to coming down and watching a class. I grew up around horses and I know that this nonprofit is something special.”
Horse Play Inc. currently has seven horses for the three programs and they provide rides for children ages three and up.
Hippotherapy classes are provided for kids who need assistance with improving their balance, holding their head up and coordination. A therapist has to be present for the hippotherapy classes.
There are also therapy rides for children with behavioral and cognitive problems. The children are able to sit on the horse and ride with assistance.
The newest class that Horse Play Inc. has introduced is for children with emotional problems. They spend time with a horse like it is their own. They learn how to take care of the horse. They come out and groom them, brush them and form a relationship with them. These sessions are one-on-one for an hour.
Last year, the nonprofit had 58 children in their classes and this year they are expecting 65. There is a large need for volunteers to help out as a walker for one one-hour class per week for eight weeks when they start back up.
Katelyn Lawson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.