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“Helping individuals with special needs is something that I really believe in, so to be able to do it through horses is just the best of both worlds,” said Dr. Elizabeth Newell, Vice President of the Board of Directors at Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding Center.
Helping riders to build both confidence and physical strength, horses are different from other therapeutic animals.
“The horses can emulate the movement of walking, so for someone who’s never walked on their own to actually be locomoting and feel the movement of the horses’ legs underneath is just spectacular.”
Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding Center offers lessons for people with special needs.
“We look at what’s gonna benefit them the most, and that’s how the goals and the lesson plans are developed not according to ‘this is your disability’ but according to ‘this as a person,'” said lead instructor, Karen Weber Zug.
Some riders are only three years old while others are in their seventies.
“It’s great to see them progress over time and that they have these goals in mind, and then they continue to work towards those goals using our equine friends.”
It’s safety first here at Greystone Manor TRC. Every rider has to wear a helmet, these rainbow reins help the riders learn the proper hand position, and safety stirrups.
“The side walkers are watching out for the safety of the rider, the leader is watching out for the horse,” said Zug.
The organization is mostly run by over 200 volunteers who strive to help riders achieve their goals.
“I had a rider one time who said something about me wanting to show off what I’ve taught her and I said ‘no, that’s not what this is all about. This is what you have accomplished. All I did was open the door, you walked through,'” Zug said.
In Lancaster, Irene Snyder, Wetown.org.