Legacy Ranch in Lockport provides equine therapy for people of all abilities

LOCKPORT, Ill. - A ranch in Lockport is helping disabled adults and children ride a little higher.

The Legacy Ranch provides a unique type of therapy that involves horses, made possible by a stable of great volunteers.

Ask Emily Tichacek what changed her life, and the answer is easy.

"I never thought it would be horses," Tichacek said. "I was bullied in like fifth grade because they were all just straight up mean all the time, so I had to find my friend groups through here... They accept me for me. They accept me for everything."

Emily, who is on the autism spectrum, holds multiple gold medals in equestrian sports through the Special Olympics. She was the very first rider at Lockport's Legacy Ranch in 2017. Now she is an instructor.

"We provide equine-assisted services to all abilities," said Legacy Ranch Executive Director Kate Rasmussen. "Horses bring something to the table that no other traditional therapy can bring. They actually have very large hearts, obviously."

Emily's mother Kelly Tickacek said the therapy and instruction have been a godsend for her daughter.

"What she's learned taking care of the horses and the comradery and the comfort that the horses give her, has just been life-changing," said Kelly.

Legacy Ranch provides therapeutic riding lessons, as well as speech, mental health and physical therapy, along with licensed therapists for adults and children with and without disabilities.

"On days that I'm having a really bad day, I come here to relax and calm down," said day program participant Theresa Hiles. "I started riding horses when I was 11, so it relaxes me."

The Legacy Ranch is located at 2705 South Farrell Road in Lockport.

They are able to provide therapy to a wide range of clients thanks to donations. They are hosting their third annual charity golf outing on Friday, June 7, at Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont. Some of the ranch's horses will be on hand at the event. For more information visit The Legacy Ranch website.