Meet Sparky, a 29-year-old Shetland pony at Therapeutic Riding of Tucson.

Even in retirement, Sparky helps out with TROT’s enrichment programs. This week, he’s here to support the nonprofit’s summer camp:

Sparky is helping teach ‘horsemanship’ to children living with disabilities. It’s part of TROT’s summer camp, which serves as an introduction to their adaptive riding program.

“We try to gear it towards the individuals who have been on our wait list, so they can get a taste of our program and see if this is going to be a right fit for them,” says Program Director Dora Brown.

“They get to ride every day, they have the horsemanship lesson, and then we do some kind of equine craft at the end of the day when it’s really hot and you need to get back into the AC,” Brown tells me.

TROT has a long waiting list for participants.

They’re always looking to expand with more certified instructors and more trained horsesultimately giving more opportunity for kids living with disabilities.

“The best thing to see is when they start communicating and they start trying to tell their horse what to do,” says Brown. “I think that’s one of my favorite parts especially for someone who’s like nonverbal, and they’re trying so hard to get their horse to, like, walk on.”

TROT is the recipient of KGUN 9’s July Giving Project. We invite you to make a donation in support of their work, either via text message or using the form below. All the money raised as part of our Giving Project goes directly to the nonprofit.

For more information on more of TROT’s programs, visit their website.

READ MORE: Therapeutic Riding of Tucson: Healing though the human-horse connection