Horse program changing lives at New Day in NKY

UNION, KY (FOX19) - Ryle High School's special education program visited New Day Equine Therapy in Union, KY, to learn life lessons.

New Day is an equestrian achievement program that specializes in equine-assisted therapies along with alternative and traditional therapeutic programs.

For Artie Diakandulu, a sophomore at Ryle High, Tuesday's are now his favorite day of the week.

"Take care of horses, brush them, clean them, look so beautiful. They always smile every time I come here," he said.

Artie is among 10 special education students at Ryle High who now get to continue their learning at Meadoview Farms.

"We have a lot of students with Autism and they've learned a lot of non-verbal skills here which is really great for our students with autism... so a lot of them will benefit from coming here," teacher Amy Jo Blair said.

Blair has seen tremendous growth in her students at New Day.

In addition to taking care of the horses, the students are reigning in other important life skills.

"...like making eye contact, reading other people, they also learn task completion skills and self advocacy, being able to know when something needs to be fixed for themselves," Blair said.

CEO and founder of New Day, Beth Long, has been helping others through equine therapy for years, but this is the first year teaming up with a school.

"What we've seen in the growth is balance, posture, self esteem, interpersonal relationships, social relationships," she said.

As the Ryle students learn something new each visit, their hard work is just as rewarding to Long and the volunteers each and every day.

"We are a volunteer organization and survive on contributions and so when the kids get back on the bus we just all sit there and go, 'wow that was awesome.'  So we enjoy it just as much, if not probably more," Long said.

The Ryle students will take a quick break for the winter cold months ahead and they'll be back in the spring.

If you know a school, or anyone that could benefit from this equine therapy program visit their website.

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