New 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.

To become a rider in Lenawee Therapeutic Riding, please contact Jan Vescelius, Head Instructor, at


Jan will help you through the steps of becoming a therapeutic rider.  New riders will need to be assessed by Jan to ensure the rider can be matched with a horse.  Once assessed, new riders will complete the rider registration and medical paperwork.

 The Benefits of Lenawee Therapeutic Riding

  • 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."