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A New Kind of Therapy Animal

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By Brianna Case.
"It's the greatest job in the whole world to work with humans and horses I don't think it gets any better than this," said Lori Piccirilli, Program Director.

This feeling is one that Lori Piccirilli and the volunteers share, while working at the Verde View Equestrain Center.

The nonprofit center focuses on providing therapy to those with disabilities and even some without.

"The therapy on a horse is so much different than any other therapy because you are actually getting on them and two are becoming one, so you are really feeling their walk, their movement," said Julia Massaro, Program Liazzon and Volunteer Coordinator.

"One of the greatest moments is actually seeing the humans and the horses connect as Julia mentioned, they really do become one," said Piccirilli.

Connecting goes beyond a deeper level for those with disabilities, the volunteers and even the horses.

"The riders and the families to instill so much trust in us as instructors and program support to allow this to actually transpire. We are partnering an individual, whether it be a child or geriatric with a thousand pound animal for a learning experience," said Piccirilli.

It only takes the volunteers eight hours to learn how to become a part of this.

"They will learn two hours of disability awareness, emergency drills and procedures and then of course program content which is helping individuals with a disability or without a disability learn progressive riding and horsemanship skills," said Piccirilli.

"We are always looking for volunteers that have a love of helping horses and humans and of course nature because we are set on 60 acres," said Piccirilli.

Those that volunteer don't need any prior experience.

If you are interested in volunteering with the center you can go to www.verdeview.ec.org to apply.