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Chapter 5: Owners, Community, and Volunteers

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Chapter Five

Owners, Community, and Volunteers

Instructors and therapists conduct the actual sessions but facilities, and a lot of support, are also necessary.

A good example of a NARHA center is Rocky Top Therapy Center, established in 1990 by Doug and Vivian Newton, at their Rocky Top

Ranch, Keller, Texas. The center has achieved NARHA premier accredited status, and has grown to annually serve two hundred physically, mentally, or emotionally challenged individuals.

“We struggled to get started,” Doug recalls. “Therapeutic riding was not widely known, to the disabled, or to the community at large, and there were few instructors in the country. We were busy getting educated on the process, giving speeches to anyone who would listen, raising the necessary dollars to make our programs possible, and improving our facilities to accommodate those with special needs. Now we are finding that keeping up with growth is an even greater challenge. Because of our successes, demands for expansion are ever increasing.”

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Chapter 27: Nick—Down Syndrome

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Chapter Twenty-Seven

Nick—Down Syndrome

At a Special Olympics horse show, thirteen-year-old Nick Hogan, a veteran of many years in the saddle, walked around eating a bag of French fries and visiting folks along the shedrow. Several people teasingly asked him for one of his fries, and he would turn away, protecting his snack. As he walked up to me, he fished out a long, shiny fry, dripping with catsup, and extended it toward me. Nick is somewhat limited in his verbal skills, but smiling, he offered the token. His mother, Sandy Hogan, laughed.

“You should feel honored. He doesn’t share his fries with just anyone.”

Well, I absolutely did. I took that piece of potato from him and ate it, trying not to imagine where his fingers might have been as he played around the horse barn.

Nick has Down Syndrome and a spunky, compelling personality that gets him a lot of hugs—and sometimes, sent to “time out.” Horseback riding is his primary source of exercise, socializing, and self-esteem, while it also helps to teach him communication skills and discipline.

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Sample List of Studies

Bertoti, Delores B. (1991). Effect of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Extremity Weightbearing in a Child with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy:

A Case Report as an Example of Clinical Research. Pediatric Physical

Therapy, 3(4), 219-222.

Bertoti, Delores B. (1988). Effect of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Children with Cerebral Palsy. Physical Therapy, 68(10), 1505-1512.

Biery, Martha J., and Kauffman, Nancy (1989). Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Balance. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly,

6(3), 221-229.

Bizub, Al, Joy, A., and Davidson, L. (2003). It’s Like Being in Another World: Demonstrating the Benefits of Therapeutic Horseback Riding for Individuals with Psychiatric Disability. Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Journal, 26(4), 377-384.

Bliss, B. (1997). Complementary Therapies—Therapeutic Horseback

Riding? RN, 60(10), 69-70.

Bouffard, Marcel (1990). Movement Problem Solutions by Educable

Mentally Handicapped Individuals. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly,

7(2), 183-197.

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Chapter 14: Helping Troubled Youth

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Chapter Fourteen

Helping Troubled Youth

Emotional distress can be devastating. It doesn’t show on the outside, except by a person’s actions, and is often misunderstood and discounted, the troubled person told to “just get over it.” Of course it’s not that easy, especially for children.

Rocky Top Therapy Center’s program, Right TRAIL™,1 begun in

1994, has helped children cope with emotional problems by teaching discipline, responsibility, team spirit, work skills, and patience, in a structured environment. It is a program for helping troubled, at risk, youth find the “right trail” to a better life.

The program operates in conjunction with the Keller, Texas, school district. School counselors assemble students, age nine to sixteen, with similar needs in areas such as self-esteem, behavior, academic performance, social skills, or coping with grief. Groups of six to ten girls or boys are bussed to the ranch after school during the twelve-week course.

Sessions are co-conducted by certified therapeutic riding instructors and a school counselor.

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Chapter 24: Lynn—Paralysis, Skiing Accident

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Chapter Twenty-Four

Lynn—Paralysis, Skiing Accident

From cantering through Texas countryside teeming with thousands of Monarch butterflies, to cantering around an arena to thunderous applause from fans cheering riders from around the world—this is the trail taken by World Class Rider Lynn Seidemann. Representing the United States in the 2000 Paralympic Games, Sidney, Australia, winning a

Gold and a Silver Medal in the 2003 World Dressage Championships for the Disabled in Belgium, and a Silver in the 2004 Paralympic Games in

Greece, are only a few of Lynn’s accomplishments.

Always an athlete, Lynn played soccer on the University of Cincinnati team for two years, and excelled in tennis and basketball. She also snow skied.

Just after turning twenty-one, racing down the gleaming white slopes in Colorado, Lynn fell and hit a tree. The impact broke her back at T-eleven vertebrae. She could not walk, but Lynn didn’t let it stop her.

“I wanted to stay active and it was a natural thing to keep playing sports, at least do as close as possible to what I did before,” she said. “I started playing basketball and tennis.” Nine years after the accident, Lynn qualified in tennis for the 1992 Paralympic Games, Barcelona, Spain, and won a Silver Medal in doubles. Shortly thereafter she learned about therapeutic horseback riding.

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