Lenawee Therapeutic Riding Rides the Winds of Changeby providing therapeutic horseback riding and specifically designed program involving the use the horses and ponies to provide riding for physically and emotionally impaired individuals.
Riders: Prospective students, both children and adults, can be referred to the program by a variety of agencies, schools or individuals. A physician's referral and an evaluation by a physical or occupational therapist are required. Classes are geared to each individual rider and are aimed toward their abilities with the help of a certified riding instructor and volunteers. As students advance in their riding skills and increase their confidence, they become more independent and require less assistance.
Volunteers:The very existence of Lenawee Therapeutic Riding depends on the people who volunteer. Volunteers attend special orientation programs if they wish to work directly with the horse and rider. Because the safety of the rider is of the highest priority, volunteers are needed as sidewalkers, backriders, leaders and as assistants to the instructor. Help is also needed for public relations, fundraising, planning committees, horse care and teaching stable management classes. Volunteers provide horses that are certified and specifically trained to accommodate the rider's needs.
Benefits: The benefits to riders and volunteers are many. For riders, the warmth and motion of the horse help to relax and stretch muscles. The gait of the horse, which is similar to the human walk, tones muscles that are often unused.
A horse can supply a freedom that many students do not experience in their daily life. This program helps to improve balance, coordination, mobility and posture. The ability to control a horse adds a sense of power that increases confidence and self-esteem.
Riders have the opportunity to socialize and make new friends while attending classes. The program mutually benefits the family who can share in a fun and positive experience.
Volunteers also enjoy positive experiences. Kay O'Daniel, of the Michigan State University Extension office, explains that "volunteers benefit through personal satisfaction, grow in their understanding of the individual with disabilities, share personal abilities, meet the challenge of new experiences and to feel needed."
Funding: Lenawee Therapeutic Riding is a nonprofit organization that exists on contributions through fundraising activities, community service organizations, businesses and individual donations. Financial support is needed to pay for insurance, equipment, facility rental, scholarships, instructor's fees, public relations and continuing education courses.
How can you help?: New volunteers are essential for the continued success of the program and are needed for all aspects of the program. If you would like to become involved or need more information, contact Janelle Stewart, MSU Extension Educator - Youth Development. Your financial contributions are appreciated and are tax deductible if itemized. We welcome any visitors who would like to attend our in-session riding programs. Please contact if you would like more information,
I saw a child...
I saw a child, no legs below, sit on a horse and make it go through woods of green and places he had never been to sit and stare, except from a chair.
I saw of a child who could only crawl mount a horse and sit up tall. Put it through degrees of paces and laugh at the wonder on our faces.
I saw a child born into strife, take up and hold the reins of life, and that same child was heard to say "Thank God for showing me the way."
-John Anthony Davies
Think about your childhood summers. Do images of flowers, fishing poles, vegetable gardens and dirty fingernails come to mind? Now image how handicapped youngsters spend their summers, perhaps without an opportunity to experience these joys of summer ... that is until Project BLOOM brings Lenawee County 4-H'ers and handicapped students together to explore and experience the wonders of nature.
Planting vegetable and flower gardens in wheelchair accessible raised beds, nature photography, fishing, building bird houses and learning about each other, are only a few of the favorite summer time activities for Project BLOOM participants.
The exploration of nature doesn't stop when kids return to school in the fall. Several Lenawee County classrooms have GrowLabs, portable indoor light gardens, where students discover the miracle of life cycles by watching a sprouting seed push through the soil or bringing a wilted plant back to life.
To expand their voyage of discovery even further, ProjectBLOOM students explore the galaxy, swim with a sea turtle or fly with a bee from flower to flower through an interactive computer video program.
Under the direction of the MSU Extension Service in Lenawee County, Hidden Lake Gardens and the Lenawee Intermediate School District, ProjectBLOOM was initially funded with a two year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Now ProjectBLOOM needs additional support to continue to bloom.
For more information about Project BLOOM contact Joanna Botte, Extension Educator - Youth Development, at (517)264-5300 or email@example.com.
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned.