Grand Equestrian riders honor four-legged friends

The Livingston County 4-H Grand Equestrian Program, a therapeutic horseback riding program for children with physical and mental disabilities, honored two Standardbred horses this year for their devoted years of hard work.

The Livingston County 4-H Grand Equestrian Program, a therapeutic horseback riding program for children with physical and mental disabilities, honored two Standardbred horses this year for their devoted years of hard work. A parade was held on July 21, 2009, in front of the grandstands during the harness races at the Fowlerville Fair.

Four J Belle, known to the riders as “Belle,” turned 20 this year and has been doing her job with young riders for 16 years. Her foal, Ort’s Memory, has a race record of 2:05.1 this year at Sports Creek.

Four J Skipper, known to the riders as “Skippy,” turned 26 this year, and at the age of six had a race record of 2:02.1. He made more than $5,000 during his racing career, but that’s not much compared to how many smiles he has given young riders for the past 16 years.

This program is driven mostly by dedicated volunteers. Each time a child rides, two to four volunteers are needed to help. With time, some of the riders can learn to ride by themselves. The program helps these young riders develop balance, confidence, strength and flexibility while working with their equine friends.

The Livingston County 4-H Grand Equestrian Program must depend on the generosity of the community. A very gracious thank you is given to the Fowlerville Harness Horsemen for their donations of equipment, money and support, and for their donation of $500 to the program for next year’s events.

Should you wish to donate money or your valuable time to the Livingston County 4-H Grand Equestrian Program, the riders, their parents and all the volunteers would be extremely appreciative. Please call the Livingston County Michigan State University Extension office at 517-546-3950 if you would like more information.

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