Watch: A life-changing program based out of a Duncan barn is healing people one ride, and one scratch behind the ears at a time. Started some 30 years ago, the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association now operates 6-days a week helping people break through barriers from autism to trauma brought on by violence.
In a Duncan barn full of four-legged healers an unmistakable respect for what these animals can do hangs in the air, as sweet as the hay they're munching on.
"I'm wowed everytime I see it," said Executive Director of Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association's Anne Muir. "It takes a special horse."
"It's just a loving place," said volunteer Lindi Cable. "And the healing that takes place for all people that work here it's very amazing."
Both the volunteers and horses are chomping at the bite to get out in the ring they know every inch around — to do what they do best.
Today "Floella and her human team is helping 5-year-old Trinity. Who is already dealing with a history she needs some healing with."
"We've had kids with PTSD, fetal alcohol syndrome and then there's physical challenges as well," said Muir.
The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association gives 3,600 lessons every year.
They Help people with autism, developmental disabilities and trauma gain strength, confidence and the power of communication with a team of supportive volunteers around them.
"They're everything," said Muir. "We couldn't operate a single day without them."
Volunteer Lindi Cable says she was drawn to this when she was just 18 years old, and recalls her beautiful and vibrant mom developing Locked In Syndrome — a condition she had until she died.
"And I know how much of a soul there is in every living creature no matter what they may look like on the outside," said Cable.
Doctors told Cable's family her mother couldn't communicate with the outside world, but Lindi found a way.
She says she looked for a soul and still saw her mom in there, like she sees these horses doing child by child, and injured adult after injured adult.
"It's turned into something far more than I ever thought possible," said Cable.
"There can be sad things but you feel so much better, so rewarded," said volunteer Janet Barclay.
These healers are clearly working on more people than the ones simply on their backs — maybe also the ones walking alongside.