Linda McLendon: Jefferson Award winner helps others with her therapy horses

PALM CITY, Fla. - Linda McLendon cares for Gray, Kissaroo and six other horses on her Palm City ranch.

Linda and the horses are a team-- helping children and adults with disabilities. She said, "It's not just physical disabilities. It's also emotional disabilities and learning disabilities we cover all of that."

Riding the horses and petting them is therapy for the riders. "I think the horses are naturally magical and they help the kids get organized and it helps them do better patterning and it's a sensory input. The kids sort of all tell us what they need."

Linda said riders pay for some of the therapy sessions, but she handles the rest with her own money or from annual fundraisers.

"Generally I do 60/40, where I go and find 60 percent and they give me 40 percent. It doesn't always work that way and there are a lot of times where parents will come and say they don't have the funding but I just see them anyway," she said.

Linda has also written a book and hopes sales will help keep the therapy sessions on track.

"I am hoping that I can leave a legacy when I am not here in Martin County anymore. I have been here since 1952 and I am hoping the book can sell enough copies so that we can get some land so I can have some kind of trust so that it will always be here for the kids."

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