LYMAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- University of New England (UNE) students learned about the benefits of equine therapy because of a partnership between the university and Carlisle Academy in Lyman.

The director of therapy at Carlisle, Susan Grant, taught 11 students in her Introduction to Equine Therapy and Wellness that was offered for the first time this fall. Students had class lectures as well as a lab in the riding arena at Carlisle where they worked with patients on horseback.

"Provide them with a lot of information on how the brain works so that they understand that with their future clinical practice and in their future graduate school," said Grant.

During the year there are as many as 300 riders who come to Carlisle. One of those is Jere Gray's son, Eli. The four year old has a form of cerebral palsy that keeps his muscles tight and limits his speech. Two years into equine therapy he's showing UNE students what clinical progress really looks like.

"Since riding he can now sit, we have a few words, but they're there. I think about 20 or so. He's started crawling and we've gotten up to four steps out of him," said Gray.

"Seeing the growth that clients receive, that's the reason why we're in the field, so to be able to have that experience as an undergraduate is amazing," said UNE senior Madison Van Cleave.

The class will not be offered during spring semester, but they're hoping to offer it again during the fall 2017 semester.