Children With Special Needs Spend A Day With Animals - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Children With Special Needs Spend A Day With Animals

Six year old Benji Goldberg was just one of more than 130 children with special needs anxiously awaiting his turn on a horse.  Benji has low muscle tone which his father, Billy, says makes his body very limp.

"The best therapy you can have is on a horse, because every muscle in your body works when you're riding a horse.  That really strengthens him and let's him learn to hold his body up, because he just doesn't have a lot of control," says Billy.

Bonnie McAree started Farm and Ranch Day eight years ago with the help of some friends' animals and bringing in children from neighboring communities. Since then, it's exploded into a huge event with hundreds of people from as far away as Dallas.

"We try not to turn anybody down. If we have a child that wants to come, they get to come," says Bonnie.

This year, there's a mechanical bull, a barn dance and some exotic animals in the petting zoo, but for Benji painting this horse was the most fun activity of the day.

Watching the kids have so much fun was an unexpected reward for the students who helped put the event together.

Alba-Golden 8th grader Kayla Fountain says, "I didn't think it was really going to be that much fun, but once I got here, I've had a blast. I've had the best time of my life."

Now, they're looking forward to doing it all over again next year.  

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting:


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