Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Catch a Reinbow
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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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