NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - “There's an old saying there’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a person. That could not be more true.”

8-year-old Emma Claire always has a smile when she visits Saddle Up! Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program.

Her mom, Meagan Strickland, says time in the saddle helps Emma overcome the challenges of Cerebral Palsy and ADHD.

"At home her balance is so much better. After she rides her handwriting is so much better,” she said. “The fluency of her speech is better. It affects us all the way around.”

A new study suggests other children like Emma Claire can benefit from horseback riding. Researchers studied children who took part in weekly horseback riding sessions.

They found children showed improvement with motor skills as well as social and communication skills.

“Within three months of riding, she was saying full phrases,” Meagan said. “She turned into a chatter box when she got on the horse.”

The biggest challenge to bringing this therapy to other children is the cost. Most insurance companies don't cover it. 

"I just think, ‘where could these kids be today if they had this opportunity?’" Meagan said.

Laura has been a volunteer at Saddle Up! Nashville for almost two years now. This research is a big step forward in getting more kids in our community the help they need. 

If you would like more information on how to volunteer or how you can help riders like Emma Claire, click on our News Links tab below. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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