A Spokane woman is working one step at a time to help others in our community.
Sandy Jones moved to the Spokane area from Seattle almost 10 years ago. When she got here, she found our area was a lacking a very specific kind of therapy.
"People that know and love horses, it's just kind of in your blood, you can't help it," Jones said.
Jones started Free Rein almost five years ago. She now runs one of the largest therapeutic horseback riding programs in our area.
"We've got riders that have learned their right from their left from riding a horse, where it's something they've never been able to grasp before," she said.
Starting with children as young as four all the way up to adulthood, Free Rein has about 65 riders with a variety of disabilities.
"We adapt our equipment or our teaching styles to whatever their ability level is," Jones said.
Marsha Swenson has sent her adult daughter, Andrea, to Free Rein for the past three years.
"Andrea loves it, she loves horses and just the opportunity to get on a horse and go out riding is incredible for her," Swenson said. "She has to work very hard because she has Cerebral Palsy, so it makes her hold her trunk up and hold her head up so it's a real work out for her."
Jones’ horses do much more than just help with physical health.
"It definitely improves her confidence, she is just so proud to ride on the horse, I don't know if you noticed when you put the camera on her, she smiles and looks right at you! She's pretty proud," Swenson said.
More than 150 people volunteer at Free Rein, and they all see the hard work Jones puts into the program.
"She started this program from scratch, she has to do a lot of fundraising, it's a non-profit," volunteer John Pardee said. "They have to do a lot of community outreach to keep the program going."
No matter their age or disability, Jones helps everyone that comes through Free Rein.
"Just the joy that you see in them and to hear the stories of the progress that they make from being on a horse," Jones said.
"Sandy's done a lot of work,” Pardee said, “The whole purpose is to help people, she's the epitome of helping people."
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