New horse-therapy organization seeks children to pair with ponies
When Megan Molony lost her mother, she began looking for a way to honor her memory.
Her mother was born with spina bifida, then contracted polio, which caused her to have a leg amputated. Despite her handicap, Molony said her mom was always involved in animal programs.
So, when Molony discovered the program Personal Ponies last June through her Facebook page, she realized this was a program her mother would have supported.
“I noticed that people in the Grand Valley have a lot of horses, so this might be something that people would be interested in,” Molony said.
Personal Ponies is a national nonprofit organization that pairs children with disabilities with small horses. The children bond and connect to the horses in a way that promotes the physical and emotional well-being of the child. The emerging field is also known as hippotherapy.
Molony contacted the national director of the program, only to be told that there was not a program director for the state of Colorado.
“She told me it had been 2 or 3 years since the program had a director in Colorado and that if I really wanted to help I could do that,” she explained. Molony had thought of merely volunteering, not overseeing and entire state program.
But, on June 29, the first anniversary of her mother’s death, Personal Ponies named Molony as state director of the organization.
“This is just such a new direction for me and I’ve already accomplished so much in such a short amount of time,” she said.
Molony, who doesn’t own any horses, had to first find animals for the program. She was given three miniature horses plus a promise of free boarding from Loma resident Brad Cilton.
The horses should arrive by the end of August.
“Now I need children,” Molony said. Children with all types of disabilities, from autism to cancer patients, can benefit from hippotherapy, she explained.
“Any children that are alienated from their peer group because of illness can benefit from the program,” she said.
The horses offer the same health benefits to the elderly, or other adults with disabilities. Molony plans on taking the horses to a variety of area service organizations, such as Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado or Mesa Developmental Services.
Not only is Molony seeking children to participate in the program, she is also seeking donations such as hay or other horse supplies to help take care of the ponies.
Personal Ponies also has teamed up with Decedance Gourmet Cheesecakes to kick off their first fundraiser. Order online at http://www.decadencecheesecakes.com and use the keyword Personal Ponies. Customers will receive a 1-percent discount and Personal Ponies will receive 10 percent of the total sale.
“I’ve just jumped in full feet and I can’t wait to see the kids with these ponies,” Molony said.
For more information, visit http://www.personalponies.org or call 858-4696.