Changing Lives One Stride at a Time
Thirty-nine years ago, at the AQHA convention, a college student stood up and gave a presentation. In it, the University of New Mexico speech pathology undergraduate described how utilizing an American Quarter Horse as a therapeutic tool had profoundly helped her disabled patient. Ruth Dismuke-Blakely was given a research grant that snowballed into the program she runs today.
Ruth, a third-generation horsewoman raised in AQHA’s programs, owns and runs Skyline Therapy Services just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. The program, the longest-running full-time therapy program in the United States, serves almost 200 patients and is entirely self-supported. It employs 21, a mix of physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as professional horse handlers.