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Saddle Up: How Southern Reins is using horses to help the disabled in the Mid-South

Shelby County has more than 280,000 residents with disabilities. One organization is aiming to change lives one ride at a time. So, let’s giddy up and hea...

Memphis, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Shelby County has more than280,000 residents with disabilities. One organization is aiming to change livesone ride at a time. So, let’s giddy up and head to Southern Reins inCollierville to find out what they’re doing. Local 24 News WeeknightAnchor Katina Rankin has this local good news.

Meet Nike and Jill Haag. Jill is the executive director ofSouthern Reins Center for Equine Therapy in Collierville.

“Before Southern Reins was founded in 2015, there reallyweren’t any centers solely and exclusively serving people with disabilitieswith severe hardships,” said SouthernReins Executive Director Jill Haag.

Nike is a therapy pony and helps with those hardships.

Their mission is simple: help those in need.

“We have grown quite a lot in a short amount of time. Westarted with twelve (12) participants in 2015 and just to show how much needthere is in the community, we have a current roster of more than two-hundred-fifty(250) people that we serve,” said Haag.

Nike and other horses like these big boys – Ozzie and Rebel, plusLady Butters – serve individuals with physical, cognitive and emotionaldisabilities. 

While we can’t show you video of those who go through the programbecause of confidentially agreements, Jill tells us healing comes from workingwith the strength of the horse which teaches young children to seniors tonurture the giant beings. Nurturing helps the individual trust something largerthan themselves and inspires them to succeed in all areas of their lives.

“There’s something amazing about a horse. They’re veryself-reflective. They’re soothing. They’re calm. It’s amazing to be able tocommunicate with a horse without saying a word,” said Haag.

Southern Reins is tucked away down a country road where people canescape, feel safe. And Jill says a silent walk around the property –coming out of the stable, gliding past the front porch, and taking in naturearound you – is sure to help those with disabilities leave with what she callsthe 3 A’s: the ability to achieve, aspire, and amaze.

Learn more about Southern Reins HERE.