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  • Writer's pictureJudy Maggio

Help From Horses

Raphael Haliz loves animals. The 5-year old has developmental delays and limited speech due to a genetic condition. But frustrations and fears seem to wash away when he’s trotting on a horse every Saturday morning at the Horse Empowered Learning Programs ( H.E.L.P.) in Pflugerville. 

( Raphael Haliz taking part in Horse Empowered Learning Programs - H.E.L.P.)

Raphael’s father, Danilo Haliz, says,” He’s all smiles when he’s on the horse. We’ve seen remarkable progress in his focus, motor skills and regulating his emotions. It’s a great way to begin the weekend!” 

H.E.L.P. is a nonprofit started 40 years ago in Central Texas to serve people with physical, emotional and cognitive challenges. They often grow stronger and more independent because of their relationship with the horses, whether it’s riding, groundwork, games or just bonding with these beautiful animals. 

H.E.L.P.’s Executive Director Stephanie Powell is a registered therapeutic riding instructor who started this work in 2010 to help riders learn how to connect with their horses. “The past 14 years of instructing and 10 years at H.E.L.P. have taught me so much more about how horses can truly change lives. Not just the riders, but also the families, volunteers and mine. The clients at H.E.L.P. teach me just as much as I teach them.” 


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