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Alabama's TROT Gets Kids Out of Classrooms, on to Horses

TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. — A non-profit organization and local businesses are helping children with special needs in Tuscaloosa County get out of the classroom and on to a horse.
Sophia's teachers spent the morning cheering her and her classmates on as they made their way around a course on horseback. Sophia is one of eight children with special needs at Vance Elementary working with Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa, or TROT.

"It brings a sense of peace, it's very calming, our horses all specially trained you don't feel them being nervous and so they make the children not nervous and calm," said Melanie Willaims, with TROT.

TROT is a non-profit organization that not only teaches children to ride but incorporates games and courses to help each child grow.
"The main thing about moving left and right is getting both hemispheres of the brain to work together. So they may pick up a toy out of the mail box with their right hand and then set it down in another place with their left hand so that just helps everything communicate the way they should," Williams said. 

"It is an amazing experience just watching the smiles on their faces and seeing them actually get to participate in something that is therapeutic but is also a physical activity. They are limited somewhat in some of their abilities at difference activities but being able to ride the horses is a whole new experience," said Amy Vest, the Principal at Vance Elementary School.

Instructors said the children are making progress.

"That's a big improvement to go from terrified to happy in just three sessions and its not like they're out here every day, they're out here once a week," said Williams.

The students are taking part in a five week program.

All of this was made possible through the elementary schools "Adopt-A-School" partners, Mercedes Benz, Vulcan Materials, and Southland International Trucks Incorporated.
For more information about TROT, you can visit their website here.