The current session in the Tri-Cities is for disabled youth and adults. But the plan is to eventually expand to other populations, including veterans, people dealing with mental illness and sex-trafficking victims.

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Sofia Martinez loves to ride horses.

For the 16-year-old Prosser girl, it’s fun and freeing.

She has Batten Disease, a genetic condition that causes seizures, cognitive impairment and loss of vision and motor function.

But when she’s around horses, she lights up.

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“She looks forward to it each week,” said her mom, René.

Luckily, Therapeutic Riding of Tri-Cities, or TROT, is offering a new class this summer, so Sofia won’t have to wait until riding sessions resume in the fall to get her TROT fix.

Riding therapy takes a break in the summer because it gets too hot in the outdoor arena.

The new Horse 101 class — which teaches the basics of horsemanship — is underway, and it’s not too late to sign up. Sessions are 9 to 10:30 a.m. Mondays through July 2.

The current session is for disabled youth and adults. But the plan is to eventually expand to other populations, including veterans, people dealing with mental illness and sex-trafficking victims, said Cynthia MacFarlan, TROT founder.

It’s a non-riding class, with participants instead learning about how to manage and care for a horse — all the while building relationships with each other, working on communication and having plenty of fun.

It’s a good steppingstone to TROT’s riding sessions, MacFarlan said. It’s also good for participants like Sofia, who already have some horse experience but want to stay active and connected, she said.

The benefits of equine therapy are myriad, MacFarlan said.

“There’s magic that happens every time a class takes place,” she said.