Non-profit in Ashland offers therapeutic horseback riding for cancer patients, survivors

Non-profit in Ashland offers therapeutic horseback riding for cancer patients and survivors

ASHLAND, Va. (WWBT) - In Ashland, there’s a new type of “therapy” being used to help cancer patients and survivors, and no medication or chemo is involved.

New Day Equine Therapy offers horseback riding as a way to help people recuperate from the mental and physical toll of cancer treatments.

“Its a great experience to be with the horses,” said New Day Equine Therapy instructor, Bruce Nachman.

For more than 40 years, Nachman has been teaching professional horseback riding, but in the last five years, Bruce has been teaching the therapeutic horseback riding program for cancer patients and survivors at the non-profit.

Bruce Nachman
Bruce Nachman

“It’s rewarding and it’s meaningful,” said Nachman.

Ross Shannon is a father of three boys and he’s been bringing his sons out here for several weeks.

“Its been a positive experience…our kids have really enjoyed it,” said father, Ross Shannon. “To watch the progress that they’ve made is wonderful.”

Shannon’s 6-year-old son, Graeme, says he’s learned a lot since starting the process.

“We’ve learned how to post and clean them,” said Graeme Shannon.

As Ross watches his sons trot around, he know’s the road hasn’t always been easy because his oldest son, Graeme, was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago.

“When you go through something like this, (it) definitely changes the prospective that you have in life,” said Ross Shannon.

A life changing event that Bruce wants to make just a little easier to navigate.

“Our job is to try and give a little relief to parents and the children and their siblings, and teach them something new and try to forget about cancer,” said Nachman.

While at the same time, giving families an outlet and the much needed time away from the hospital.

“I’m not stuck in there for a couple of days,” said Graeme Shannon.

Now, because of the partnership with Connor’s Heroes, all of the lessons are free for cancer patients, survivors and their families.

For more information on New Day Equine Therapy, click here.

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