Lisa Johnson sees that in Courtney and her other two children who participate in horse programs.
"It relaxes them,” she said. "They enjoy it.”
Most of the therapy riders, including the Johnson sisters, attend the program at Harvest Farms in Shawnee. It’s free for participants, director Jackie Wilks said. About 30 to 50 students ride each Monday. They also do crafts and learn about the Bible.
"It’s such a ministry for us,” said Wilks, who runs the program with her husband, who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
"We love the Lord and have been very, very blessed, and it’s an opportunity to turn around and give those blessings to other people.”
Wilks has as many volunteers as she does students. The Burkhead sisters from Shawnee — Rachel, Joanna, Abigail and Mary — help by leading craft time, assisting students or cleaning up. Even for volunteers, Rachel Burkhead said, the program is a ministry.
"We do it because we love God,” she said.