Page 7 - winter09-10

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Winter 2009-2010
7
During the summer, many William Woods horses are leased
out to various lesson and show programs, but for one horse,
this summer was different.
R.J., a half-Arab registered with the Pinto Horse Association
of America, traveled to Arkansas to participate in a therapeutic
riding program.
He was donated to WWU's western barn in 2008, and had very
little training. Last spring, he was projected by
Kate Lawrence
,
who graduated in May. During “projecting” a student is paired
up with an individual horse to train.
“R.J. is nothing special when looking at him from a professional
horse standpoint, but he is priceless when it comes to his
personality, cuteness and willingness to keep trying,”
said Lawrence.
The unusual
arrangement of
leasing a WWU
horse to a therapy
barn came about
when
Ariel
Finkenbinder
,
a 2002 WWU
graduate, visited
Fulton for Alumni
Weekend. She is a
therapeutic riding
instructor at the
Equestrian Zone, a barn in Russellville, Ark., that specializes
in hippotherapy and therapeutic riding.
Therapeutic riding is a growing movement, and to keep current
with the latest equestrian trends, William Woods recently added
a concentration in therapeutic riding within the equestrian
science major. Students also have the option to become
certifed through NARHA (North American Riding for the
Handicapped Association).
William Woods equestrian instructor
Jennie Petterson
helped
to facilitate the lease of R.J. to the Equestrian Zone.
“Because he was so
good natured around the
WWU students, I thought
he just might work out. I
was also confdent that
as a WWU grad, Ariel
would know what to
expect in terms of
exposure and handling.”
“He was such a joy,” said
Finkenbinder. “He carried
riders with high tone, low
tone, autism, cerebral
palsy, ADHD, down’s
syndrome and many
more. Whatever we
needed, he provided.
R.J.’s movement was
just what the therapists
needed for many of their
riders—his calm rhythmic
pace helped them feel secure, but
he also has the ability to provide a great range of increasing
diffculty and challenge depending on his pace.”
Amy and Steve Oatis, parents of one of the riders, had
wonderful things to say about the impact that R.J. had on
their daughter.
“Lilly’s therapist discovered that R.J.’s size and temperament
are ideally suited to Lilly’s needs, and as a result, Lilly made
great progress during her time with him this summer. Horses
open doors of communication for children on the autism
spectrum in ways that are seemingly magical. He helped
our daughter immensely.”
By Leah Hohmeier ’10
Horsin' Around
WWU Horse Enjoys Summer Therapy Work
R.J., the therapy horse from William
Woods University, nuzzles one of his
young riders in the Equestrian Zone’s
hippotherapy and therapeutic
riding program.
Small children and adults alike at the
Equestrian Zone enjoy R.J., the therapy
horse from William Woods University.