No. 734



Life is curious in so many ways, but one of the things that has always intrigued me is what motivates us to do the things we do. Such is the case for an emotional attachment that I have developed for a special ministry near El Dorado, Ark. This ministry is called Hope Landing, and their mission is to bring hope and purpose to the lives of children with disabilities by helping them achieve their God-given potential. Each time I see a mentally or physically handicapped child, I have compassion for them, and I am sure this is the case for the vast majority of the citizens of our country.
In my case, it’s more than just the “there but for the Grace of God, go I” sense that I feel, but it is also because of the form of treatment they use in working with these special children. They use a form of treatment called hippotherapy that promotes the use of the movement of a horse as a treatment strategy in physical, occupational and speech-language sessions for people living with disabilities. Hippotherapy has been shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development and emotional well being.
I know this is true from personal experience. Earlier I said I was intrigued by what motivates us to do the things we do. I came to realize that at least some of my emotional attachment came because my wife, Viola, has Parkinson’s and she used this same form of treatment several years ago. I can remember seeing her hand shaking violently, and this would stop almost immediately after she was seated on a horse. There is something almost magic in an animal’s touch to help us relax. If you would like to know more, visit the Web site of the American Hippotherapy Association at
The mission and program of Hope Landing is solid. Here is a little bit of their history. This ministry became a legally recognized nonprofit corporation in the state of Arkansas in July 2005. The corporation was founded by five community members who, having in common an inclusive understanding of the needs of children with disabilities and their families, a love for God, a love for His children, and a love for their community, collaborated to form an organization that would be distinctive and unprecedented in its approach to children’s development. In less than one year, a board of directors was organized, 501 (c)(3) tax status with the IRS was achieved, a beautiful 80-acre tract of land east of El Dorado was secured, and business opened as of June 5, 2006, providing therapeutic, recreational, and support services to children with disabilities and their families.
One of the founders, Jennifer Wylie, who is also the CEO of the corporation, and I have been in contact several times over the past few months. Jennifer is also a very courageous lady, as she is battling breast cancer and taking radiation treatments. I leaned of this ministry when one of my readers of the El Dorado News-Times, Janis Camp, wrote to tell me about what they are doing at Hope Landing for these special children, and also the needs they have. After my initial contact, I saw a “Youtube” video that gave me real insights into their setting and their program. It showed children actually receiving hippotherapy by riding horses, and a competent, dedicated staff who were devoted to helping them have a better quality life.
To learn more, visit their Web site: Two-thirds of their budget comes from tax-deductible contributions. Please help them if you can.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)