Healing Strides hosts “Horse Safaris” to keep people, animals connected

‘What the horses bring to us is mindfulness; they bring us to the present moment.’

BOONES MILL, Va. – Many right now are looking for something pleasant to escape to and that’s where Healing Strides comes in.

Healing Strides of Virginia is used to helping hundreds of people who face personal challenges. Carol Young is the CEO and she said they had 203 people on their schedule when they closed on March 17, but even though they’re closed, they continue to help hundreds.

“Right now pretty much everyone pretty much has a personal challenge, I haven’t met anybody that doesn’t," Young said.

During this tense time, Healing Strides is hosting “Horse Safaris”. It takes about 15 minutes for drivers to loop through the pastures, seeing about 20 horses along the way. The first time this event was held, about 100 people came. The second time, about 200 attended. Organizers expect even more on Monday.

"So the horses would come up to the windows and interact because the horses were missing the people also," Young said.

Shari Winebarger's daughter Maci has been coming to Healing Strides for the past eight years.

"To take physical therapy and therapeutic riding," Winebarger said.

Maci’s extended time at home has been hard and seeing the horses again has done wonders for her heart.

"We're not getting the interaction with people like we were but to be able to interact with the horses are just as good or maybe even better for Maci because she loves the horses so much," Winebarger said.

Even if it’s just for a moment, escaping to a pasture might mean a moment of peace.

"When people are driving through the field it’s peaceful it’s serene, people say they feel a calm,” Young said, “What the horses bring to us is mindfulness; they bring us to the present moment.”

Healing Strides asked for a suggested $10 donation. They raised about $1,000 at each of their first two events.

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