LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin woman is teaching children how to overcome obstacles in life by letting them interact with her horses. The faith based equine program director has been helping children for more than 40 years and she plans to reach out to even more East Texans.
The Living Water Equine Services programs aren't all about learning to ride horses.
"It's teaching them the skills that they need to get through life," said trainer Joy Carpenter.
Joy Carpenter has wanted to do this all of her life.
"When I was a little kid this was my dream; to have a farm, to have kids and teach the kids," Carpenter said.
Each student takes on the task of caring for one of Carpenter's 13 horses each week.
"The biggest thing that I would say they're learning is responsibility and maturity," Melody Draper said.
The skill programs are also teaching kids self control, patience, trust, relationship building and goal setting.
"Each individual that's out here is setting a specific goal that they're working toward," Carpenter said. "When they go out there and life throws them a curve ball, they already know how to tackle that without falling apart."
Elizabeth Draper, age 13, is learning how to stay strong after a recent car accident.
"She broke her femur and her pelvis in three places and only two weeks ago she was released to start walking," Melody Draper said.
"It does kind of hurt a bit but its fun. If I could, I would keep riding," Elizabeth Draper said.
Carpenter is currently developing a therapy program for students. She's also hopeful to start a program for children with development disorders.
"We see a real need in the community for the autistic children to be ministered to," Carpenter said. "We are opening up a program to work with those children in October."
Melody Draper's three children have been enjoying coming to the Living Water Equine Services for the past two years. Draper is thankful Carpenter is continuing her faith based programs with children.
"This is a ministry that ministers to the heart of the children. I've seen my children grow as they've come out here," Draper said. "They've went through trials and struggles and kids do. If we didn't have the horses, I don't know where they would be right now."
Carpenter provides a bible study at each weekly program and sees a need for more programs to minister to families and children that include biblical solutions.
She has 40 years of experience and has worked with children ages 4 to 17. She also offers team building and leadership exercises for businesses, organizations, and pre-marital counseling with her horses.
For more information about Living Water Equine Services, visit their website.