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Equine therapy center expanding


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- An area provider for specialized therapy is expanding. Stable Hands Equine Therapy Center is located on a farm northwest of Wausau, and works with medical patients that can benefit from riding a horse.

Diane Abitz is the director. She says they started construction on an indoor riding center about two weeks ago.  “We’re putting up our big indoor riding arena, which allows us to operate without worrying about being rained on or other interruptions, so it makes a huge difference for us on the capability we’ll have.”

Stable Hands staff lead the horses, and have safety people on both sides of the horse as the patient rides. Abitz says the movement of the horse is a good form of physical therapy.  “Because the horse’s movement is so similar to the movement of a human in the way the pelvis moves, it’s very beneficial because it’s a very repetitive movement that helps a person like, imprint in the way they can move, but it stimulates nerves and muscles and helps a person also with their balance and coordination.”

The walking motion of the horse helps patients physically, but Abitz says interacting with the horses helps riders mentally as well. She says they recently had a patient whose doctor prescribed equine therapy to help with both physical and mental recovery.  “She had been in a car accident, and her doctor recommended this for her because it will help her even more with her coordination and balance, but also her thought process because she has to react in different activities and games.”

Stable Hands Equine Therapy is a non-profit group that utilizes many volunteers, and provides services on Thursday evenings in the first part of the summer, and Tuesday evenings from now until mid fall. They are hoping to be in their new building by the end of July.

Anyone looking for volunteer information or more about Stable Hands Equine Therapy can call Abitz at 715-359-6046 or go to their website.  Their address is 10710 Evergreen Drive, Wausau, but visitors need to call ahead.

(You can listen to our interview with Diane Abitz on our website, here.)