Santa pays special visit to STARR Farm


DECATUR – Santa made a special and early visit at the School of Therapeutic And Recreational Riding (STARR) for children with special needs.

The daunting experience of taking your child for their first ever visit to see Santa increases even more when a child is hypersensitive to unfamiliar faces and areas. The staff at STARR wanted to offer an alternative place for their clients and any other family to bring their young one to meet ole St. Nick himself.

Lead Volunteer Therapist at STARR Janine Boehme said, "Those of our children who have special needs can be very anxious with the loud noises and people in suits we thought having the horse here to calm them especially if they are used to our horses."

The facility specializes in equine therapy for children with disabilities of many kinds. Giving them an outlet to bond with the horses to better find a sense of calm.

Parent Phil Shils said, "Like with Lucia who has hemiplegia, so naturally, her right side doesn’t work as effectively as the left, so when she walks, she has sort of a gate imbalance, but when she’s on a horse that doesn’t exist. That’s a nice smooth gate that these kids get to experience a lot of for the first time on a horse."

To help contribute to the facility visit for more details.

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