Citizens make a splash for a great cause

Athletes take to Cross Lake during Paddlefest
(Source: Javonti Thomas/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Javonti Thomas/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Javonti Thomas/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Javonti Thomas/ KSLA News 12)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Dozens of paddlers waded the waters of Cross Lake on Saturday for the Geaux Play 5k and Paddlefest.

The event kicked off with a 5k run in Shreveport's Country Club Neighborhood followed by a Paddlefest competition.

Participant and paddle boarding instructor, Sarah Sledge said events like this gives people a unique way to beat the heat.

"For a place like Louisiana with lots of rivers and lakes paddle boarding is a great activity," Sledge said

She says bodies of water like Cross Lake are the perfect place for paddlers, but she recommends hopefuls should be able to swim.

The event was not just to make a splash. The purpose of the event was to raise money for GREAT — Great Results Equine Assisted Therapies. GREAT, based in Greenwood, offers therapeutic horseback riding services to children and adults with disabilities.

Leann Bond works with the Shreveport- Bossier Arc as the Director of Resource Development. They provide programs for people with disabilities throughout our area.

She says having a Great program has served the ArkLaTex since 1997 and makes the area distinct. 

"They don't have many in the United States and it's rare to have one in your area," Bond said. 

"They get to have fun, relax and get their therapy at the same time," Bond added.

Katelyn Roan teaches horseback riding as a Professional Association of The Horsemanship instructor for the GREAT program. She says providing this non-traditional type of therapy can provide mental and physical healing. 

"It gives them an emotional connection with the horse," Roan said.

"The way a horse moves is similar to the way humans moves," she explains. Roan says that gives some with leg problems the ability to walk with pressure on the legs.   

She says the main goal is to teach students to ride a horse independently.

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