Horses helping people in amazing ways

Most people go to a medical office for treatment, but one type of physical therapy takes place in a barn. It is an unusual place in metro Atlanta called BEATS, where horses help people in amazing ways.

Trainers use Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy to treat a variety of conditions, including brain injuries, cerebral palsy and language disorders.

BEATS founder Bethany Nugent says it's the natural movements of the horse and the cues from the trainer that help people make huge improvements. Often times, changes happened in just a few months, like with 11-year-old Dakota Seifert.   

Dakota looks and acts like any other 11-year-old, but three years ago his parents say he was non-verbal. Testing showed he had had a speaking disorder. So, his parents who were determined to find a solution tried almost everything to find a solution until they found BEATS. 

Then, something miraculous happened. They say the little boy started taking all the time.

He's now a chatter box.

Dakota spoke with FOX 5 about his time at the barn.

"My mom and I feed some carrots and apple sauces and then they (horses) starts taking to us" said Dakota.

Once a week, Dakota rides. It's disguised as play but its actually building his brain muscles.

"It's an amazing relationship, the one the clients develop with the horses. They come in and they are so excited to see them," Nugent said. 

And Dakota isn't the only one making great strides.

Other children and adults come here for therapy of all types.  Nugent says she saw a need in the community so she started the program back in 2003!  Since then, her trainers, along with her horses, have won dozens of awards.

Along with providing scholarships to kids and adults who need this type of therapy, BEATS also provides homes for "retired" horses who are no longer working.

All of that can be costly, so head over to their website by clicking here to find out how you can help! 

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