Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


Home · Articles · News · Features · Catch a Reinbow
. . . .

Catch a Reinbow

Danielle Horvath - August 10th, 2006
The first time Rorie Asplet went horseback riding, he screamed from the parking lot to the doors of the arena. Rorie has cerebral palsy and has spent his life in a wheelchair and had a fear of animals, especially large ones, because he had always come face-to-face with them.
It took a few more attempts before Rorie began feeling the positive effects riding had on his muscles, while also developing a friendship with both the horse and its owner. Rorie, now 21, is now going on his seventh year participating in the Catch A Reinbow therapeutic horseback riding group and his parents are very glad they made that first trip.
“He used to be in pain, his legs are better, he’s grown, he sits up taller,” explained his dad Reggie. “After a night of riding, his legs will be shaking afterwards because it uses different muscles than when he’s in the chair. It stimulates parts of his body that don’t get it any other way, even though he works out at a fitness center four days a week. He’s also become good friends with his horse, which was an added bonus.”

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WALK
A horse’s walk or gait imitates that of humans, and horses will change their gait to accommodate the rider. For someone in a wheelchair, this may be the closest they’ll ever come to feeling what it’s like to walk. Riding a horse provides a passive stretch for tight muscles, stimulates internal organs and circulation and improves the body’s range of motion.
Studies show riders improve not only physically, but psychologically as well through the connection made between the horse and rider. Often riding increases a handicapped person’s self confidence, responsibility and pride as well as instilling a sense of accomplishment.
Each rider has two people walking on either side of the horse at all times, and the horse is usually led by its owner. Volunteers trailer and transport their horses to the sessions and many have been involved in the program for years.
“It’s really a lot of fun,” said John Yonkers, who has been transporting his two horses from Manistee for the past five years. “My horses enjoy the kids riding them, the whole experience calms them down and the people I’ve met have been awesome. Everyone gets a lot of enjoyment out of this.”
The all-volunteer program serving Antrim, Benzie, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties relies on a small group of dedicated, dependable and caring adults and teens. Led by a certified instructor, the program works with specially-selected horses that are gentle, docile, used to being around people and noises, and are not too big or tall. The program has been held at different locations over the past nine years, including indoor arenas donated by horse owners.

SAFE ENVIRONMENT
“I think it’s a great program, and very important to these kids and the volunteers,” said Diane Kaser, owner of Spring Moon Equestrian Center outside of Beulah. Kaser donates the use of her indoor arena for the six week sessions. The indoor settings provide a less distracting and safer environment, and a more level surface for both horses and volunteers to walk on. “Safety is first, always,” explained instructor Jody Bambas, “and having fun is second.”
Bambas led the group of six riders in an hour-long session that included safety awareness, directing the horse, and learning to use proper commands and gestures. All riders are required to wear helmets and meet medical approval before riding. All volunteers are screened and trained to serve in a variety of roles.
Bambas is currently the only instructor in the area and the program is always looking for more. A fee for the participants is nominal and scholarships may be available. The program survives on networking and word of mouth and financial donations from individuals and organizations.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the Catch A Reinbow program should contact Patty Roth, 4-H Youth Programs, MSU-Extension, Benzie County, (231) 882-0025.


 
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