Batesville, MS Horse Therapy Center Closes After Two Years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Batesville, MS) A horse riding center in Panola County that helps the disabled is in danger of closing for good.

The center uses horses as therapy for special needs children and adults.

It's the "PALS" Equine Assisted Activity Center in Batesville.

Lack of donations of money and supplies are the reasons for the closing the center, which has been open since 2011.

News of the closing came as a big surprise to Melannie Stallings.

Her special needs daughter Amy, has fallen in love with the therapy program, "Her confidence level has just gone out the roof. And just a sense of happiness, from the time she steps off that horse, she is waiting for the next week to do it again."

Melannie Stallings is proud of what her 19-year-old daughter Amy has accomplished at the "PALS" riding center in Batesville.

The teeenager, who is mentally disabled, is more outgoing and relaxed thanks to instructors and a horse named "Reba."

Amy is considered to be an advanced rider at the center winning top place in the 2012 Dixie Nationals.

She was planning to compete again this year, until her mom got a phone call from "PALS" Director Susan Traywick, "And she said, 'quite honestly, we're just broke.' She said, 'we, you know, we're having a hard time feeding the animals.'

The Equine Therapy Center will close at least until April 2nd, while the staff try to raise more operating funds for food and riding equipment.

Susan Traywick, a Certified Theraputic Riding Instructor, says the horse therapy center has nine riders who've been receiving free lessons, "We're hurting, we need some help. And unfortunately in the economy, the non-profits are the ones that suffer."

That means special needs riders won't be able to enjoy their four legged best friends for a while: something Melannie Stallings knows will be a big blow to her daughter, "That would just be something she would never get a chance to do ever again."