Equine program helps kids with disabilities

Marie Postiglione-Dupell conducts a therapy session with Aiden at Medicine Horse Farm in Morrisonville.

Marie Postiglione-Dupell conducts a therapy session with Aiden at Medicine Horse Farm in Morrisonville. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

MORRISONVILLE — She gets the paperwork first and reads through it as a voice in her head whispers, “I can help this person.”

Then they visit the site and meet the horses. Marie Postiglione-Dupell knows that 12 months later the individual she is helping will not be the same.

“All of us together are going to make a difference,” she nearly whispered, like the voice in her head initially inspiring her to move forward.

Postiglione-Dupell owns Medicine Horse Farm, which is simultaneously located in Morrisonville and Beekmantown, depending on what one uses to pinpoint the address. Medicine Horse is a nonprofit organization and PATH International Center dedicated to serving those with physical, medical and emotional disabilities. It promotes physical wellness and emotional healing in partnership with horses.

PATH International was founded in 1969 to promote safe and effective therapeutic riding for the handicapped throughout the United States and Canada. It has nearly 800 member centers and more than 6,300 individual members worldwide who help more than 42,000 men, women and children with special needs yearly through a variety of equine-assisted activity and therapy programs.

Postiglione-Dupell was working as a pharmaceutical rep in Vermont when she learned about a PATH International site there. She grew up with horses but did not know what therapeutic riding was.

She showed up to the barn in a pricey suit and heels, and despite the strange looks she received, signed on as a volunteer.

“I just got hooked,” she said. “You start seeing all the aha moments and differences it makes in the people’s lives and the families.”

She quickly grew bored with volunteering and learned she could become an instructor.

She left the pharmaceutical industry for training in Connecticut, but after she completed she returned to working in Vermont when the pharmaceutical industry tossed more money at her.

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