MIDLOTHIAN — Amid the neighing horses, a sense of performance jitters and the smell of fresh air, Paws For Reflection Ranch celebrated the accomplishments of its students through the third annual Ranch Riders Horse Show.
The show was held at the ranch Saturday, March 18.
“Our annual Ranch Riders Horse Show provides an opportunity for the riders in our therapeutic riding program to showcase their riding and horsemanship skills for their family and friends,” explained Melode Seremet, president and founder of Paws for Reflection Ranch.
Among the many outlets the ranch provides, therapeutic horseback riding is at the top of its programs. Pairing a counselor and therapeutic riding instructor with a calm horse, each student participates in a variety of activities based on his or her riding ability.
Learning from the ground up, students interact with a team of professionals while bonding with a horse — not only boosting confidence but also improving communication skills, stress management, and coping mechanisms.
With students who range from sensory integration dysfunctions to autism and downs syndrome or even those with hearing and visual impairments, Paws for Reflection Ranch honored the efforts of each student and his or her dedication to the program.
“One of our riders, who has recently started riding independently, threw his arms up in celebration as he successfully completed the riding pattern. He was so proud of himself, as he should be,” Seremet said.
Taking traditional counseling to a non-traditional setting, students of the program were able to "show off" their skills while an adoring community cheered from the sidelines.
“The Ranch Riders sat tall in their saddles,” Seremet recalled. “They proudly demonstrated the riding skills they have mastered during their lessons with therapeutic riding instructors, Melissa McCullough and Liana White.”
Energetic ranch volunteers welcomed attendants to the property just as the sun warmed up the day and cars filled the parking lot. From a spectacular horse show in the newly built indoor arena to carnival games and food to a petting zoo on the lawn — the event was a jubilant success.
“We couldn't have our lessons or the show without our amazing volunteers,” Seremet acknowledged. “Our volunteers for the horse show included the student council from Frank Seale Middle School and members of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers."
She also expressed her appreciation for Alpine Building Maintenance and JAG Metal Buildings for sponsoring the show.
As proud parents watched and students enjoyed a day made just for them, the show went off without a hitch.
“Our riders performed at their best and our horses were on their best behavior,” Seremet complimented. “It was a heartwarming experience to watch in person, and see the magic of horse and rider together. Knowing the challenges some of our riders face means all the more when watching them accomplish their riding goals."
To connect with Paws for Reflection Ranch, visit pawsforreflectionranch.org or call (972) 775-8966.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer