The horses at the award-winning C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado might be best known for their daily “jingle” as they return from the pasture. But for a special group of riders at the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD), these majestic and powerful creatures are also known as some of the best and most patient providers of critical therapies.
In the coming weeks, some of C Lazy U’s gentle giants will be wrapping up their second summer serving as therapy horses. At the NSCD, the horseback therapy program takes differently-abled individuals from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds – such as those with ADHD, autism, PTSD, cerebral palsy, and more – and allows them to learn the basics of horseback riding while also providing therapeutic benefits such as postural control, balance, speech strengthening, and trauma recovery. All while having a great time bonding with an animal in a beautiful Rocky Mountain setting.
Colorado Equine Therapy with the NSCD
The NSCD believes “everyone is able and anything is possible.” For more than 50 years, they’ve been helping the differently-abled discover what they’re capable of through innovative outdoor experiences and athletic therapies. One of the programs they offer is Therapeutic Horseback Riding, where participants learn horsemanship abilities while experiencing the variety of mental and physical therapeutic benefits that horses provide. The program has options for unmounted experiences, trail riding, rodeo skills, and full horsemanship camps – all with adaptability and accommodations for those of all abilities to experience the special magic of horses and the outdoors.
Therapeutic Experiences for Both People and Horses
The people aren’t the only ones experiencing the therapeutic benefits of C Lazy U’s partnership with the NSCD – the horses are being helped, too!
C Lazy U has a deep commitment to the care and welfare of their more than 200-horse herd. Many guest ranches lease their horses out when not in use for riding and training, but C Lazy U’s herd has a permanent home on the ranch, and receives training and care from the wrangler team year-round. Just like people, sometimes these horses need physical therapy to recover from trauma, illness, or injury. The horses that are part of the NSCD program have the good fortune to help those in need while also working on their own recovery.
One example is Tupelo, a tried-and-true guest horse at C Lazy U who was a favorite beginner skill level riding companion for many years. Tupelo developed an inoperable tumor on the right side of his face a few years ago that affects his ability to wear a bit and bridle – which isn’t a factor as a lead-guided horse at NSCD. The team is currently working on trying to shrink the tumor with medication in the hopes that he can become a dude ranch horse at C Lazy U again.
Another therapy horse from the ranch is Hollywood, a wonderful adult/teen guest horse that fell this past winter and fractured his pelvis. It was recommended that he have a light season to rest and heal, making him ideal for rest and easy days while helping others at the NSCD. Other horses like Cowboy and Grover have arthritis and need gentler seasons to recover and return to C Lazy U. All of the horses have fallen in love with the kiddos and teens they’ve been assisting, and have thrived as therapy animals. After lots of love and attention at C Lazy U, their experience allows them to fit right in at NSCD, and the riders simply adore them.
A Match Made in Heaven
C Lazy U is overjoyed that we could be a part of this incredible team-up with the NSCD. Worn out and injured horses get a break from the routine with time to heal and rest, and in return the NSCD gets some great horses to work with the amazing people involved in their therapeutic programs. It’s an incredible win-win, and something C Lazy U hopes to continue for a very long time!