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Horseback riding as therapy in Crownsville

Posted at 5:50 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 17:50:10-04

CROWNSVILLE, Md. — Maryland Therapeutic Riding in Crownsville is an equine treatment center in Crownsville, instead of putting your feet up on the couch, you tack up a horse and go for a ride.

Lorelai Symmes is a volunteer here. She was looking for something to do, so a neighbor suggested this that was a year ago and she hasn't let up since.

MTR is a great alternative for standard therapy, instead of 4 walls and a doctor you get a little "Ranch" therapy with the feel and smell of a horse and this scenic 25-acre farm in Crownsville.

What Lorelai didn't realize yet was the horses were helping here. She just got out of the hospital for anorexia, she was in bad shape when she went in.

That's when she met a 23-year-old, ex-show pony from Texas, Roux.

"I had to be there with her and she kind of gave me a purpose for doing what I had to do," Symmes said.

The hospital helped but wasn't quite enough. Mother Nature gave Roux those big ears for a reason.

"They listen to you and even though they are animals they do show reactions. They're so gentle and kind and they're always there for you."

Symes was so motivated by her new four-legged therapist, she wrote a book, The Path Towards Sunshine. This young author from Severna Park is shining a bright light on such a dark problem.

"I think by me being able to express my feelings, it resonated with a lot of people who they may not have been diagnosed, they might not have been hospitalized but it makes them feel as if they are not alone and that there are not the only one going through this and that there are other people going through this and have gotten better."

This therapeutic riding experience has been so impactful for Lorelai; she is going on to college to study Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.