From Staff Reports

Many Prosper residents have likely driven up and down Custer Road north of U.S. 380 dozens of times and noticed a small sign at a driveway that reads "ManeGait". It marks a pretty property with grazing horses, a small house, a barn a covered riding arena, and an outdoor riding arena. There are rolling hills, ponds, pastures and trails. What most may have not noticed as they ride in your 150-horsepower car is the special group of people who ride the horses that power the mission of ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship.

Founded by Bill and Pris Darling, ManeGait offers a therapeutic riding program that teaches equestrian skills while encouraging independence and providing substantial physical, behavioral, social and emotional progression for children and adults with all types of disabilities. Classes are offered regularly and some riders prepare to participate in equestrian competitions. The physical progress that riders make is remarkable. ManeGait is where some riders take their first steps, say their first words and achieve an emotional connection; all because of the power of riding the horse.

ManeGait doesn’t just benefit the riders and their families. It is also enriches the lives of volunteers and equestrian professionals. Volunteers pair with individual riders throughout therapy sessions. Under the supervision of ManeGait staff, approximately 350 volunteers serve ManeGait’s riders each week, filling the roles of horse leader or side walker. Volunteers also assist with general maintenance of the property, as well as providing support for professional needs and event planning and implementation. Each volunteer provides an average shift of two hours per week, giving ManeGait 700 volunteer hours weekly. Without the volunteers, ManeGait would not be able to serve more than 110 riders every week.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, ManeGait is hosting a free family-friendly outdoor movie event presented by HomeCEU Connection to introduce more people to its unique therapeutic programs. Activities begin at 6 p.m. and will include pony rides and a bounce house prior to showing "Despicable Me" at 7:30. Concession snacks will be sold and all proceeds will benefit the services that support ManeGait’s mission: to enable "children and adults with disabilities move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of the horse and the dedication of a professional, caring community." ManeGait is located at 3160 N. Custer Road. For more information, contact 469.742.9611 or visit http://www.manegait.org/