return to top
Return to News

Eagle Scout Completes Lean-to Project for Therapeutic Riding Center of WCCH


An eagle scout candidate recently built a lean-to for the horses at the Genesis Therapeutic Riding Center of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital as her Eagle Scout project. Kristen Darbonne, 16, volunteers at the Riding Center in the summers and knows how hot it gets in the pasture and wanted to do something to help.

“When I found out they were looking for a shelter like that, I knew that’s what my project should be. I know how much those horses help and mean to each and every patient at the Center,” Darbonne says.

She completed the building project in three days. Darbonne is among five girls from Troop 8 of Westlake who will be the first females in the United States to earn the rank of Eagle Scout under the Scout BSA program through Boy Scouts of America.

Michelle Simon, equestrian tech at the Riding Center says the lean-to is excellent for providing shade for the horses in the pasture. “The pasture gets a lot of sun and there aren’t many shade trees. All of our horses are donated and some are quite old, so the shade is nice for them. It’s also great during a storm, they can take cover.”

Simon explains they have one horse who is blind. “Kristen added flags on the lean-to so the blind horse can hear them and walk toward the lean-to and enjoy the shade.”

Darbonne is appreciative to Lowe’s of Lake Charles, Home Depot of Lake Charles and Orange, and her family, for the donation of materials for her lean-to project and the support of her volunteers throughout the project.

The Therapeutic Riding Center of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital provides a natural, controlled environment for outpatient therapy using horses, known as hippotherapy. As the clients ride the horses they have improved mobility, balance, posture and function. Those with multiple sclerosis, autism, Downs Syndrome, developmental delays and other challenges can receive therapy through the Genesis Therapeutic Riding Center and develop confidence and independence.

For more information about the Genesis Therapeutic Riding Center of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, visit

Kristen Darbonne and her brother, Mason.

Little Man enjoying the new lean-to.