INDIAN WELLS - Many people have heard of flash mob’s—people slowly breaking into song and dance for a cause or just for fun. That's what one organization did to an audience of nearly a thousand today in the desert.
Pegasus Therapeutic Riding is an organization that helps disabled children use horseback riding as therapy. "This was a first for us-- this flash mob,” says Manager of Special Events for Pegasus Albeth Paris Grass.
The mob took months of preparation-- all to see the look on families faces as the ballroom at the Renaissance Esmerelda Resort & Club slowly filled. What started with a girl and her violin slowly grew into hundreds singing and clapping Christmas songs in a flash mob throughout the crowd. "A lot of people were surprised because when my son went up there, I heard people saying ‘What's happening, what's going on’,” says mother Brooke Gunnerson. Her son Ryan has Spina bifida.
Brooke says Ryan has done a complete 180 since joining Pegasus. In fact, he's this years “Rider of the Year”. "He has a little problem walking and the horse riding has helped him with his balance and coordination; his walking has improved,” says Gunnerson.
Organizers of the event say horseback riding is a perfect way for kids to gain confidence. "What we call it is full body range of motion exercise on horseback. A horse moves with the same cadence and motion on their four legs as we do,” says Grass.
Grass says riding gives the children the opportunity to feel empowered. "Many of these kids have never even been out of a wheelchair so they get to have that feeling of what it's like to be mobile by being on the back of a horse,” says Grass.
Not only do many of the kids suffer from a physical disabilities but many don't feel comfortable even speaking. "They end up talking to their horse-- that's the first time you hear them speak because there is a bond between animal and human,” says Grass. “Animal therapy is very successful.”
For Brooke, the program not only allowed her son to feel better but allowed her to as well-- by seeing the joy in her son's face. "Pegasus is a fantastic program and I hope more people find out about it,” says Gunnerson.
For more information on Pegasus, click here.