Lakeside ranch offers therapy on horseback

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jan 05, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — "I just like horses, and I like to yell yee-haw," says Finn Stuart.

At Sunshine Ranch Therapeutic Riding Finn gets to feel like he's a cowboy. The 12-year-old was born with Williams Syndrome which is a developmental disorder. People with Williams Syndrome typically have difficulty with visual tasks, and that's what brings him to the Lakeside ranch. He gets the opportunity to work with and ride horses.

"Williams Syndrome kiddos struggle with a lot of spacial awareness issues," says Finn's mom Julia.

The Stuart's sought help from Sunshine Ranch Therapeutic Riding nine years ago. Owner and founder of the ranch is Stephanie Teschuldte, who calls her service therapy on horse back.

"We get to serve our clients who have special needs and our goals are to help them to reach their goals and to enrich their lives," says Teschuldte. "We separate it into physical. emotional, and psychological benefits."

Teschuldte and Julia say the three categories have been very beneficial to Finn.

"Clients like Finn, are motivated take their tone of voice down around the horses and slow their actions. They can think about their responses instead of just doing them. It's really great for his coordination and balance and focus and being around the animals is really beneficial."

For nine years now Finn has been riding the horses with the help of a guide, and if you ask him, he just loves being a cowboy.

"Yee-haw," says Finn.

"It transfers over to a lot of self help skills at home," says Julia. "It's great that he's able to take on responsibilities."

The lessons vary depending upon the students needs. For Finn it's about preparing the horse, riding the horse, and then there is the clean up.

"Watching my students feel proud of themselves and having people here celebrate them, that is probably my favorite," says Teschuldte.