RodeoHouston Trail Riders make a special stop at Spectrum of Hope

Children with autism meet real cowboys and a horse for Go Texan Day

Cowboy Mario Green leads Bailey for a trail ride (Jeff Gray, 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - all rights reserved.)

CYPRESSThe Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Texas Trail Ride is well underway.

Caravans of cowboys and cowgirls are heading to Houston from all across Texas, and the Prairie View Trail Riders had a special stop to make along the way.

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Iesha Greene is an administrative assistant at Spectrum of Hope in Cypress. The ABA therapy program works with children of all ages across the autism spectrum. When she heard that the Prairie View Trail Ride was in the area -- she knew she had to reach out for Go Texan Day.

4-year-old Noah Gray pets Bailey the horse before his ride (2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - all rights reserved.)

“We have individuals with autism on the spectrum or, you know, individuals with developmental disorders, and I think it was important to demonstrate that they’re able to enjoy lively activities,” Greene said. “They don’t really have a real school experience here with us. And they’re here full time, all day Monday through Friday. But they’re not able to do really school things, field trips, things of that nature. So I thought it’d be cool to come out and celebrate with that.”

Cowboy Mario Green agrees and said it’s a great opportunity to come to Spectrum of Hope.

Sitting atop his 3-year-old chestnut mare, Bailey, Green talked about his mother who works with autistic children. He said he’s seen the benefits of horseback riding firsthand.

“A few autistic kids that she had... communicate a lot better,” Green shared. “With the right teacher and the right animal, I believe that they will get verbal, and they will stay that way.”

Green also said there are physical benefits.

“Riding horses, it works every muscle in your body, like swimming, you know? So, some of the kids, they will loosen up and free up to be around and on top of horses. And, I think it’s a great deal,” he said.

4-year-old Noah Gray rides Bailey (2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - all rights reserved.)

Assistant Trail Boss Paul Jackson said they had to move some things at the last minute to make this visit happen, but seeing the children smile and interact with Bailey made it all worth it.

“That’s what it’s all about. Seeing the reaction from the children. That’s why you go through all this. That’s what we live for. It was very fulfilling, and I hope we can come back even more,” Jackson said.

Assistant Trail Boss Paul Jackson (left) and cowboy Mario Green (right) flank 3-year-old Bailey (middle) (2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - all rights reserved.)

The Prairie View Trail Ride will continue making its way to the rodeo, teaching children about Western heritage and cowboy culture along the way.