It started with two clients and a simple vision – to lend a hand to horses and kids in need. Four years later, Bennie’s Barn has rescued and rehabilitated 30 horses, using these gentle giants to provide more than 200 therapeutic riding lessons each week.
“You cannot describe the feeling it gives you when you see a child who’s been told they’ll never walk take their first steps,” explains Keith Siragusa, a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Instructor at the Barn. “Nor can you explain a mother’s reaction when she hears a child speak for the first time.”
Keith credits the horses for these life-changing moments. Many were rescued from auction houses, where they were destined for foreign slaughterhouses. Others come from abused or neglected environments. “We show them trust, love, nourishment, and respect, and then it comes back ten-fold,” Keith emphasizes.
Today, Bennie’s Barn offers 10 different programs, ranging from therapeutic riding instruction, designed to harness the horse’s natural gait to improve physical mobility, to an option that pairs veterans with horses. But regardless of what brings them to Bennie’s Barn, Keith insists every person and every horse is changed for the better. “Bennie’s Barn is love,” he says simply. “It’s the place where miracles happen.”