We Can Ride 4-H Club (PEP)

The 4-H Proud Equestrians Program provides therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities in order to help improve balance, coordination, posture and muscle tone. The Berrien County 4-H PEP program is known as the We Can Ride 4-H Club. 

 4H-RideLOGO-2

What is the We Can Ride 4-H Cub?

We Can Ride 4-H Club started in 1979 and was the first NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) certified in 4-H therapeutic riding club in Michigan. Is is part of the Michigan State University Proud Equestrians Program. Instructors are both 4-H PEP and PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, formerly NARHA) certified to ensure their capabilities. 

Furthermore, the We Can Ride 4-H Club program offers members a unique opportunity in gaining knowledge in stable management and showmanship besides learning how to horseback ride. Stable management is the anatomy, care and grooming of the horse while showmanship teaches the art of safely leading and showing a horse from the ground. Both contributes vital knowledge and understanding of our equine counterparts. 

The We Can Ride 4-H Club offers riding sessions from May to August, with local club activity meetings throughout the year. We Can Ride 4-H Club offers various opportunities to youth as the clubs serves youth ages 5 - 19 years of age and up to 26 with youth with disabilities. Riding sessions are held at the Buchanan Westerners Riding Club in Buchanan, MI on Wednesday nights. 

We Can Ride 4-H Club -Brochure 

 

Interested in joining?

The We Can Ride 4-H Club begins recruiting youth for its riding season starting in December - February of each year. Youth interested in joining the club are asked to submit a rider application no later than March 1 of each year. This helps the club align with making sure every youth has a horse and a team of volunteers ready to go prior to the first day of riding. Late applications will still be accepted, however an additional fee will be charged. Each application submitted will be date stamped which is used to determine placement of alternates if the club exceeds its capacity. 

Each year rider families are required to donate 30 hours of volunteer service for the first rider and an additional 20 hours for each rider thereafter. Hours can be accumulated on ride nights, Berrien County Youth Fair, fundraising participation, and various other club events.

The clubs fees are $73.00 for the first rider and $48.00 for each additional family member. 

Additionally, the We Can Ride 4-H Club offers one (1) family and parent meeting throughout the year in order to keep families up to date on the latest club information. There are many parts to We Can Ride and these parent meetings are designed to keep making the various pieces of the club come together to in order for youth to enjoy and benefit. 

Mandatory Parent/Family Meetings 

April 19, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. - Buchanan Westerners Riding Center

Rider Application Packet 

Rider applications are to be completed and mailed to the Berrien County MSU Extension office at 1737 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 no later than March 1 at 5:00 p.m. Checks submitted with packets need to be made out to We Can Ride 4-H Club with youth's name in the memo portion of the check. Please make sure all forms are submitted. Below is a downloadable packets for families wishing to join the club. 

Rider Packet Letter

Rider Packet Checklist

Emergency Medical Treatment Form

Youth Media Release Form

Parent Form

Rider Physician Referral Form 

Down Syndrome Rider Evaluation Form

Consent & Liability Form 

4-H Online Enrollment Form 

Youth enrolling as riders over the age of 19, must contact the Berrien County MSU Extension Office at 269-927-5674 and submit a paper form for enrolling. 

Teacher Assessment Form

Speech Pathology Assessment Form

OT/PT Assessment Form

 

Teen Volunteer/ Teen Leader: 

Youth wishing to volunteer with the We Can Ride 4-H Club are considered Teen Leaders. Teen Leaders must be over 14 years of age as of January 1 of the riding year and not older than 19 years of age.  Teen Leaders assist riders as side walkers, leader walkers as well as in stable management. Teen Leaders must submit a 4-H enrollment form prior to the riding season. Teen Leaders are full-fledge members of the Berrien County 4-H program and are eligible for scholarships/awards. 

A 4-H Online enrollment form that must be filled out and submitted to the Berrien County MSU Extension Office which can be done via paper or electronic using the below links.  

4-H Online Enrollment Form 

 4-H Online

 

Want to volunteer? 

We Can Ride 4-H Club is primarily a volunteer-run program and the majority of the horses used are volunteer owned. Anyone 14 years or older, with or without horse experience, may volunteer for We Can Ride either as a side walker, lead walker, tack trailer volunteer, committee member or stable management helper. All volunteers that are 19 years of and older must successfully complete the Volunteer Selection Process. 

Each year in March & April, We Can Ride hosts two orientation sessions for new families and volunteers. These orientations provide important training on policies and procedures, expectations, safety measures and introduction to the club. 

Volunteer Training Date(s)

April 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. - Buchanan Westerners - Buchanan, MI 

Volunteer Packets 

Each year new and returning volunteers need to submit their volunteer packets to the Berrien County MSU Extension Office, 1737 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor, MI 49022. Volunteer packets can be submitted during the volunteer training sessions. All forms must be filled out completely. New volunteers are required to go through the volunteer selection process and be approved prior to joining the club. Forms are listed below as follows:

Returning Volunteers - Adult ONLY

Returning Volunteer Letter

MSU Volunteer Central

For questions and issues contact the Berrien County MSU Extension Office at 269-927-5674.

Interested Volunteers

Letter to New Interested Volunteers

Getting Started - Go to MSU Extension Volunteer Central at: 

MSU Volunteer Central

Interview

Interviews will be conducted during the volunteer training and will need to be completed prior to the first ride night. 

 

How can I Sponsor? 

We Can Ride 4-H Club operates on donations, gifts and fundraising efforts conducted by its members, families and volunteers. If you would like to sponsor the club or one of its events, please see below for more information: 

Sponsorship Flyer

 

Tentative Club Calendar - 2023

March 2023

  • March 1 - Rider Packets Due to the Berrien County MSU Extension Office

April 2023

  • April 15 - Horse Testing and Shot Clinic 
    • Time: TBA 
    • Location: Buchanan Westerners Riding Cente r
    • Who: Volunteer Horses and Owners 
    • Notes: Dr. Fedore will be on site to administer shots to horses that pass testing. 
  • April 19 – Parent & Rider Orientation
    • Time: 6:00 p.m.
    • Location: Buchanan Westerners Riding Center
    • Who: Riders, Parents, and Instructors
    • Items to Bring With/Agenda: Rider Medical Forms Due, Tack sizing (bring helmet if applicable), Club fees, Questions, Handbook overview, Meet & Greet, Fair Entry Form Sign Up and Meet Your Instructors!
  • April 26 – Volunteer Orientation
    • Time: 6:00 p.m.
    • Location: Buchanan Westerners Riding Center
    • Who: Volunteers, Instructors, Volunteer Committee Members, and Parents
    • Items to Bring With/Agenda: Volunteer Enrollment Forms, Handbook (if applicable), Calendar, Questions, Ride Night Expectations, and training with Instructors.
  • April 26 - Rider Packet Assessment Forms and Medical Forms Due 

 

May 2022

  • May 3 – 1st Ride Night
    • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
    • Volunteer – 5:30 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
    • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • All forms including physician form must be submitted to ride. No Exceptions. Youth who do not have this form turned in will only be able to participate in groundwork, showmanship, and stable management.
  • May 10 – 2nd Ride Night
    • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
    • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
    • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • May 17– 3rd Ride Night
    • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
    • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
    • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
      • See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information
  • May 24 – 4th Ride Night
    • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
    • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
    • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
      • See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information
    • May 31– 5th Ride Night
      • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
      • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
      • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
      • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
        • See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information

June 2023

  • June 1 – Registration Forms for Berrien County Youth Fair PEP Show Due
  • Forms should be turned in to the Fair Committee Co-Chairs: Jenny Narregan & Karey Sebasty
  • June 7 – 6th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • June 14 – 7th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • June 21 – 8th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • June 28 – 9th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**

July 2023

  • July 5, 2022 – No Ride Night
  • July 12 – 10th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • July 19 – Volunteer Service Hours Apparel Order Due
  • Apparel Order Forms should be turned into Parent/Volunteer Committee Co-Chair, Rose Narregan along with payment if applicable.
  • July 19 – 11th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • July 26 – 12th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**

August 2023

  • August 2 – 13th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee Arrival – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer Arrives– 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • August 9 – 14th Ride Night
  • Horse Owner & Tack Committee – 5:15 p.m.
  • Volunteer – 5:30 p.m.
  • **See assigned class schedule for your allotted time, ring assignment and instructor information**
  • Rider – 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
    • **See fair schedule for assigned classes, times, etc.**
  • August 13-19, 2023 – Berrien County Youth Fair (Optional)
  • August 13 - 19 (all day & week) – Barn Duty
    • Please see assigned schedule for more details**
  • August 15, 2023 – Practice Showmanship Session
    • **Please see assigned schedule for more details**
  • August 16, 2023 (all day) – Lemonade Stand Shifts
    • ** Please see assigned schedule for more details**
  • August 18, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. – Practice Riding Session
    • **Please see assigned schedule for more details**
  • August 19, 2023 – Show starts at 4:00 p.m. – PEP Show
    • All Riders should wear their “Yellow” We Can Ride 4-H Club T-Shirt
    • All Volunteers should wear their “Green” We Can Ride 4-H Club T-Shirt
  • **Please see assigned schedule for more details on when riders are expected to show up**

All ride night sessions will be held at the Buchanan Westerners Riding Center in Buchanan, MI unless noted. All dates are tentative, and more dates will be added as they arise.

Ride nights are dependent on weather, all communication will come prior to 3:00 p.m. on ride night days via the Parent Co-Chairs via email and/or text.

 

Current Executive Board Members & Chair Positions

Position
Name 
Club Coordinator
Charity Hackett
Treasurer
Rose Narregan 
Secretary 
Sarah Hackett
Equipment Committee Chair 
Carly Case & Lori Aaboe 
Volunteer Committee Chair
Heather Foster
Parent Committee Chair
Heather Foster
Instructor Committee Co-Chairs
Margie Hojara-Hadsell, Charity Hackett, & Karey Sebasty 
Horse Committee Chair
Carly Case & Sarah Hackett
Fundraising Chair(s)
Niles Haunted House - VACANT, Lemonade Stand - Bobbi Lawson, Fun Show - Karey Sebasty
Stable Management Committee Chair
Zeb Bodtke 
PR - Social Media 
Jenny Narregan 
Fair Committee Co-Chair
Jenny Narregan & Karey Sebasty 
Showmanship Committee Chair
Danielle Reck 
Youth Program/MSUE Staff 
Kelly Stelter 

 

For Questions:

Berrien County MSU Extension Office 

1737 Hillandale Road, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Phone: 269-927-5674

Fax: 269-944-4128

 

Stay up to date on We Can Ride at: 

We Can Ride 4-H Club Facebook page:   We Can Ride 4-H Club