High 5: Healing Power of Horses at Saratoga Springs Equine Therapy Center
SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — It’s the slow and steady hoofbeats of these Missouri Fox Trotter horses that the owners of an equine therapy center in Saratoga Springs say have healing powers.
But according to the parents who bring their children here, it’s the people who run the center, Tamera and Rick Clegg, who also play a critical role in the therapy.
“Hoofbeats has changed the whole dynamics of our family.”
Shawna McNeil and her husband have four adopted children.
“They’ve had several issues. Anxiety, depression, other things…PTSD. They were having a hard time coping with life.”
Timarie Waggoner has also been bringing her 6-year-old son to Hoofbeats. Waylon had physical delays and had a hard time with balance, which affected his ability to walk as a toddler.
“Since we’ve come out here, his balance and walking has improved drastically,” Waggoner says. “He can go 2,000 steps without falling. And he can run.”
Waggoner attributes that to the horses — but also to the owners, the Cleggs.
“They are the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. They do this to help the children. They don’t do this for advertisement purposes, for money, anything. They’re here to help.”
McNeil agrees, and that’s why she nominated the Cleggs for a KSL High 5.
“It’s like we’ve been given a second chance with our family,” McNeil says. “It’s been the best thing we ever did. I’m so thankful for Hoofbeats.”
The Cleggs and their horses gave 5,000 lessons last year, and they try not to turn anyone away. When asked why, they say it comes down to one word: passion.
“You have to have a passion for the horses, and you have to have a passion for the people you’re healing,” Rick Clegg says. “If you don’t have either one, it’s not going to work.”
“I did this because I love it,” says Tamera Tanner Clegg. “And it does make changes in people’s lives.”