Michael mounting his horse
When Michael arrived at the stable Thursday he had been sitting in his wheelchair all day. Eager to ride, he mounted his horse Sprite, and took to the show ring. At first when Michael started around the ring he was tense, but as he and Sprite circled the ring Michael became more comfortable and loosened up. The volunteers and the program director, Rebekah Recker, guided Michael through exercises as he rode that helped loosen his body.
Riders Unlimited Inc. is a therapeutic horse riding program located on Behlman Road in Oak Harbor. RUI provides therapy for people with disabilities and riding lessons to the public, Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) and Able Bodied lessons. EAAT is open to individuals 4 years or older who have been diagnosed with a disability and have been referred by their physician. This program incorporates therapeutic riding and training for competition in challenged and Special Olympics horse shows.
Able Bodied sessions are available to EAAT volunteers and to the public who are at least 4 years old. The sessions are open to anyone that is interested in learning to ride or wishing to enhance their riding skills. Emphasis is placed on achieving a balanced seat, using good body mechanics and working as a team with your horse.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, RUI is holding its annual Challenged Rider Show. Riders will have a chance to show off their skills and participate in some friendly competition. On Saturday, Oct. 26, RUI is participating in National Make a Difference Day. RUI will be having projects all day and the more participation they receive, the better chances they have of qualifying for a national grant.
RUI is always in need of volunteers for horse feeding and walking, cleaning tack, barn and yard work and making repairs around the facility. To learn more about RUI or to get more information on how to volunteer go to www.ridersunlimited.org or call 419-898-6164.