Lenawee Therapeutic Riding

Informational Packets and forms

What is Lenawee Therapeutic Riding?

Lenawee Therapeutic Riding Rides the Winds of Change by providing therapeutic horseback riding and a specifically designed program involving the use of 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.

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