Healing through horses

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Char and Arnie Cole lost their son Matthew in 2003. Char said it was then she discovered God's gift of horses...and how riding therapy can not only heal the body, but the mind, spirit and soul.

Psalm 23 guided Char and became the foundation of her life, while she found comfort in the family's three horses.

"It's what kept me going on...and then I realized God was using the horses to help heal, and so it just grew one person at a time...and one horse at a time," she said.

Char said she realized, as the horses helped her heal...they may be able to help others as well.

In 2014, Char and Arnie established a non-profit -- adding a therapy program to Still Waters Equestrian Academy.

Now 13 years later, riders four to 80 years old can experience what Char used to get through dark times.

"I realized those horses were helping me get out of bed in the morning," Char said.

Over the years, Char found peace and acceptance, while helping others restore their souls.

One rider, Diane Weldon, says, "Oh, it's the best...I had a horse as a girl, and I never thought I'd ride again."

"God uses them differently for everybody...sometimes just companionship, physical healing and strengthening of people's muscles where they need it...and it seems like the right people come here when they need to," Char said.

Regardless of age, income or ability, all are welcome to ride at the academy.

Char said she feels like she's found her purpose -- helping others come to peace through horses, and living out her favorite passage.

"It's interesting because I didn't even think about the restores my soul when I named it still waters but that verse and that portion of verse was important to me because of the loss. Then I realized yes, God was using the horses to help restore my soul," Char said.