Breaking ground with True Strides


True Friends President and CEO Ed Stracke, True Strides Director Alia Mortensen, Morton Buildings representative Rich Rothstein, Elvis the horse and True Friends Equine and Facilities Manager Stephanie Klaseus celebrated the groundbreaking of the True Strides indoor arena on Thursday, Nov. 21, at Camp Courage.

 

A year ago, Alia Mortensen was beginning as the therapeutic horsemanship director at Camp Courage. Since then, she has seen the power of the program, now known as True Strides, which is a part of True Friends programming.
“I saw riders face the fears of thinking, ‘This is a really large animal and I’m scared to get on it,’” Mortensen said. “But through the incredible teamwork of myself and volunteers, they faced fears, had a lot of courage, got on horses and learned so much and became good friends with horses.”
She saw gains in confidence and communication, even among nonverbal participants. Physical benefits were also apparent.
“One of the most amazing moments was with a little girl who had extremely tight legs due to cerebral palsy,” Mortensen recalled. “Within 10 minutes, her legs went from hanging up on the horse’s neck to relaxing to a natural riding position. The relief, joy and comments that she had never felt her legs relax were really, really remarkable.”
Just one week at a time, results came to fruition. Now, True Strides staff and volunteers are wondering what could be achieved in six to eight weeks.
Soon, they won’t have to wonder. On Thursday, Nov. 21, they broke ground on an indoor arena, which will allow such sessions to take place year-round.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.
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