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Horse therapy helps treat body and mind

Horse therapy helps treat body and mindCROWNSVILLE, Md. — Lana Robinson’s short-term memory has been weakened from Alzheimer’s, but her childhood memories of horseback riding remain intact. Today at 62, Mrs. Robinson rides Chrissy with ease. A volunteer and instructor walk along her left, and another volunteer is at her right, but Mrs. Robinson maintains full control of the reins.
Her husband, Paul Robinson, credits her sessions at Maryland Therapeutic Riding as the most helpful treatment option since her diagnosis three years ago.
“The fact that she’s able to control a thousand-pound animal all by herself gives her a great deal of self-confidence,” said Mr. Robinson, 68. “Her symptoms are worsening, not improving. But they improve when she’s here, on a short-term basis. And that’s good enough.”
Mr. Robinson beams as he talks about his wife’s “halo effect.” She radiates happiness on the way home from lessons and remains upbeat for the rest of the week, he said.
She has been riding Chrissy ever since her first lesson a year ago.
“They’re animals, and they have hearts,” said Mrs. Robinson, a former vice president of an advertising agency. “If I’m out there, and they know my voice, they’re like, ‘Someone’s there for me.’”