By Nicole Brewer

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MEDFORD, N.J. (CBS) — Inside this big red barn in Medford, children aren’t just learning to ride, with lessons on horseback.

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At Compassionate Friends Therapeutic Riding Center, owner Sherri Briggs uses equine therapy to strengthen the body, mind and spirit of children with special needs.

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“I have worries, so it really calms me down. It makes me feel comfortable,” said Ava Colon, a rider.

For Ava, it’s a confidence builder. For her brother Nicholas, it’s a form of occupational therapy, developing his leg muscles and improving his core strength.

Credit: (CBS3)

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From brushing the horse to walking and riding, Briggs says there’s always an objective.

With so many parents along for the ride, Briggs says they also stand to benefit.

“Just to see their kids having fun, because life is so stressful for them. So, it warms my heart.”

And that is what keeps volunteer, Kiara Hartmann, coming back.

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“I’ve seen kids connect with the horses and also grow,” she said. “It’s such a great feeling to be able to help someone.”