Frontline Responders: Horses helping special needs kids

Updated: Aug. 7, 2022 at 5:00 PM CDT
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NEWTON COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Nicholas Brooks went to a ranch to talk with a woman that rescued horses to help special needs kids.

Kim Blanton has been around horses her whole life – taking care of them because they took care of her when she was going through a rough time.

" I grew up with horses, so that is a lot that I know. Horses have pulled me through a lot of emotional things over the years. I see it also in kids and volunteers that come in. Horses can help you get through a lot,” said executive director Kim Blanton.

Blanton said it has been her vision to use the horse to help young people.

“Early 2000s I had a dream. When I came to Mississippi, I saw a lot of horses that were in need of being rescued. I decided I will try to help out with Mississippi and bring in these horses to rehabilitate them. I am a certified therapeutic rider instructor, so I thought what better way to help horses to bring in children,” said Blanton.

So, she created the Coyote Hills Equine Rescue and Therapeutic Riding located in Chunky, which has been around since 2009, assisting the youth’s mental health.

“It is amazing to watch a horse do the work. To really see a kid and a horse bond together is incredible,” said Blanton

Blanton said they have several horses and 100 kids to ride them every year.

" These kids grew up here at the barn and become our youth volunteers. It’s several of them that’s been here for 7 to 8 years, so it’s been great with the kids,” said Blanton.

We spoke with a volunteer who joined this organization because of Blanton’s passion to help the youth.

“I accidentally came across it. It was almost like therapy for me at a time when I needed it. I fell in love with the horses and children. I have been here for 6 years. There’s just something amazing about the horses. It seems to draw the best out of everyone,” said Youth Director Sherri Savoie.

We first visited coyote Hill in 2020, where a viewer saw the story, then later became a volunteer.

“I grew up with horses. I was looking for something to do. I had no idea that this existed. Your piece introduced me to Coyote Hills,” said volunteer Lynn Waddle.

Blanton said she will continue to do what she loves, and that’s taking care of her horses while they take care of others.

“You can learn everything you need about life through a horse. You just got to know how to listen,” said Blanton.

If you would like to help keep Blanton’s passion going, you can donate by calling 601-490-0655.

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