Nonprofit seeks additional funding for therapeutic horseback riding

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CORRALES, N.M. — A local nonprofit that gives therapeutic horseback rides is asking the state for additional funding.

“It makes you forget about a lot of your problems,” said Mike Raupp, the co-founder of Loving Thunder. “A horse is like a sponge. It really sucks the bad out of the person, and the horse takes it in.”

Fourteen years ago, Mike and his wife Twuana started the therapeutic riding nonprofit in Rio Rancho, to help someone near and dear to them.

“The need started with my own personal daughter, who is 40 and disabled,” Twuana said. “I started the program for her, basically, but knowing that other families needed it too.”

The Raupp’s horses help people across New Mexico who struggle with developmental and physical disabilities, as well as mental health issues. Loving Thunder programs serve people of all ages, from foster kids and youth in detention centers, to veterans with PTSD.

“It can make a huge difference in their perspective on life,” Twuana explained. “It helps with self-confidence, it helps with self-esteem, muscle building, core strength, speech, all kinds of things.”

Loving Thunder recently expanded to Corrales, giving the Raupp’s the ability to work with 40 riders a week, but Twuana hopes to help more.

“We’re trying to get some legislation put through to provide services to individuals who may not be able to afford the service on their own, and insurance doesn’t pay for what we do,” she said.

The Raupps currently charge $420 for six weeks of riding. They plan to ask state lawmakers in Santa Fe for $500,000 to fund 75 annual riders at a more affordable price.

“Being the parent of a disabled child can tear your world apart and it’s hard,” Twuana said. “If I can help their path just a little bit, that’s all that matters, and I know that horses can do that.”

If you are someone who needs help, know someone who needs help or if you want to help, visit or call 505-554-9493.