Minor use permit means that therapy services can begin again.
Seven months ago it was business as usual for Heads Up Therapy on Horseback. Nestled into their little plot of land off of Bouquet Canyon Rd, the non-profit was growing and offering horseback therapy to more disabled students then ever. But then October’s Buckweed fire ravaged the property, nearly killing Heads Up staff member Jim Tindell and injuring two horses.
Since then, Tindell continues to recover, and the Heads Up Horses have been staying on a piece of property in SandCanyon. Fundraisers have been held, applications have been filed within the City of Santa Clarita, and now, Heads Up Therapy has been granted a minor use permit which will allow them to begin their popular brand of therapy once again. That has spirits flying high.
“They’re really excited,” said Heads Up President Michael Holt, referring to the students. “It’s like a big weight was taken off our back. Now there seems to be a lot of excitement about where we can go and what we can do.”
The former students have gone without therapy since the fires in October, although they have maintained their relationships with the horses by grooming and feeding them.
While the permit does allow for the organization to re-open, it limits them in some areas. In an electronic newsletter, Holt outlined the new set of conditions for the Sand Canyon property including one that prohibits having more than 14 horses on the site. This will suffice all of the current Heads Up horses, however it will prevent them from getting any more.
Despite the conditions, Holt told KHTS that they will still be able to treat a large number of students.
“We can still put 100 clients through there,” he said.
Holt said that the City of Santa Clarita was very helpful in the permitting process.
Of course, the number of clients will depend on the number of volunteers Heads Up can bring in. Ideally, the organization would like to have 10-12 teams of three people each, trained and ready to go. The teams assist the disabled riders as they are on the horse and ensure that the therapy session is safe and effective for the student.
Equipment organizers and office staff volunteers are also needed, as well as 5 additional board members.
If you would like to volunteer, contact Heads Up through their website at www.headsuptherapy.com .
To read more about how horseback therapy works, click here . (Note: this story was written in October of 2006, one year before the Buckweed fire destroyed the Heads Up property).