It’s no secret that Yakima County has its fair share of health spas, physical therapists, independent events, and clinics to offer to folks in the valley with special needs. However, a natural and particularly unique alternative may have been just under your nose.

Yakima Pegasus Project
Kids and adults alike are able to be catered to through the diligent and caring staff at The Pegasus Project in Yakima. Photo courtesy: Pixabay

The Pegasus Project Beginnings

The Pegasus Project is a non-profit therapeutic service residing in Tumbleweed Ranch in the Yakima Valley. Their mission has and always will be to provide equine-involved services to “improve the health and well-being of people with special physical and emotional needs.”

Yakima Valley has only had the pleasure of housing the Pegasus Project since 2006. Prior, this organization was founded in Cowiche in 2003. Just west of Yakima, the Snow Mountain Ranch in Cowiche is comprised of 2,000 acres (about the area of Philadelphia Airport) with thousands of feet of elevation. Now, Snow Mountain Ranch and Cowiche Mountain are popular hiking locations with 14 miles worth of trails in breathtaking greenery. When Pegasus Project existed exclusively in this area, it was nothing more than a collaboration of seven riders aided by one instructor.

All seven of the riders live with special needs and were provided with the opportunity to participate safely in equestrian activities.

In this brief and early onset project preview, the people running Pegasus had overwhelmingly positive feedback, generating not only more interest throughout the city but also substantial results in the riders themselves. Both riders and their families reported seeing benefits following the riding services they underwent.

The Pegasus Project in Yakima

Yakima Pegasus Project
The Pegasus Project accepts horse donations in addition to financial and physical donations. Photo courtesy: Pixabay

With such tremendous feedback, Pegasus was able to move to its new location, where they are now, in Yakima. Tumbleweed Ranch is located just off Highway 12, and their overarching sign that introduces visitors to the area is impossible to miss. This ranch is a gorgeous look into the natural environmental beauty we see in Central Washington, shadowed by the Cascade Mountains.

With the new location also came new opportunities for the Pegasus Project staff and founders. Their equestrian services are now incredibly versatile and able to adapt to various individuals. These lessons can be undergone in a private or a group setting — either way, they are a sure way for participants to socialize healthily and actively.

A unique opportunity to improve social skills is only the start of the potential benefits riders and participants see as they continue their lessons. They may see increased strength and muscle gain, hand-eye coordination, communication, and, most importantly, confidence.

The horses aiding these individuals are often saved from high-risk situations. It is not uncommon to see The Pegasus Project rehoming horses who were destined for slaughter or dangerously likely to become so.

Give Back to The Pegasus Project

Yakima Pegasus Project
“130,000 American horses were slaughtered in Mexico and Canada in 2015. Most of those horses were Quarter Horse stock from the rodeo or racing industry. These horses if given a chance make excellent partners, athletes, and teachers.” Photo courtesy: Pixabay

If you are interested in becoming involved with The Pegasus Project, there are many ways you could do that. Currently, they are hiring a qualified instructor to teach, offering part- or full-time positions. Volunteers, however, are another essential component in supporting Pegasus’ programs. Typically, one rider is assigned with at least three volunteers to provide the utmost enjoyment and safety to the rider. That adds up to a need for at least 75 volunteers weekly. The volunteer hours are flexible and only four days a week. If you have any spare time and want to spend it supporting this noble organization in Yakima County, consider viewing the volunteer application to see if you qualify.

Alternatively, The Pegasus Project always appreciates any Power Partner looking to donate or become a monthly contributor to their efforts to ensure they can continue to provide optimum services. Rather than donations, you can also support The Pegasus Project by participating in any of their events. Just recently, they hosted a Polo event that brought out much discussion throughout town.

The Pegasus Project is among the most light-bringing and helpful organizations in the Yakima Valley, and throughout the state. They offer a natural, confidence-building activity that doubles as an educational experience that cannot be topped. The Pegasus Project is a wonderful addition to Yakima, and citizens hope to only see it grow.

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