Nursing School Partners with Therapeutic Riding Program

November 5, 2019 Grace Sosa, Staff Writer

(ABILENE, Texas) This semester, Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing students began volunteering with Camp Able, a therapeutic equine riding nonprofit in Buffalo Gap. Camp Able has long offered programs to middle school and high school students in Clyde and Jim Ned. This year, Camp Able began offering a group session for young adults with special needs. To accommodate this growth, Camp Able developed a partnership with Patty Hanks.

Patty Hanks students practice leading a horse.
Patty Hanks students practice leading a horse.

“We are so grateful for [the nursing students’] commitment to participating in Camp Able’s therapeutic riding programs for people with special needs and look forward to seeing them each week during the Fall sessions,” expressed Camp Able on their Facebook page. “Thank you all!”

The new riding groups meet every Tuesdays during the fall. The nursing students who assist at Camp Able went through orientation to prepare them to assist the young adults with whom they work.

About Camp Able

Camp Able’s mission is to cultivate healthy, independent living for people with special needs through equine-assisted therapy and skills-based training, with a special focus of using horses that have been given sanctuary from difficult circumstances. Its long-term vision is that self-sufficiency is a reasonable and achievable goal for humans, regardless of mental, emotional, and physical capabilities, with the full acceptance and understanding of their caregivers and society at large.

Nursing students prepare to help young adults with special needs

Camp Able offers daily therapeutic riding instruction and skills-based training to both individuals and groups, including children involved in life-skills programs at local elementary, middle, and senior high schools. Approximately two-thirds of Camp Able’s clients are school-aged children. The remainder are adults with a variety of special needs, including military veterans. Camp Able uses equine-assisted activities to help individuals with autism, stroke, emotional and intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, anger management issues, anxiety, cancer, and other conditions.

For many people with special needs, the kinds of disabilities they experience may require unique approaches to therapy, education, or other accommodations. Equine-assisted therapy is one such educational accommodation that has been used successfully to improve the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of people with special needs. While there are a number of equine-assisted therapy facilities throughout Texas, Camp Able is one of very few which exists in the Abilene area.

About Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing

A Patty Hanks student cares for a Camp Able horse.
A Patty Hanks student cares for a Camp Able horse.

Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing (PHSSN), a consortium of Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University, is an intercollegiate program that serves two private universities. The faculty, staff, and student body are honored to be affiliated with Christian universities committed to preparing students for Christian leadership and service throughout Texas, the nation, and the world. Our faculty believe that nursing is a profession that is responsive to the changing health care needs of individuals and is supported by an expanding body of knowledge. Through faith, commitment, perseverance, and interdisciplinary collaboration, students are provided the opportunity to expand their understanding of health, environment, person, and nursing.

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