Left to right: North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association board member Kelly Parry, program director Dani Goldenthal and board member Jenn Knox strike a pose at O’Keefe Ranch during one of their spring 2019 sessions. (Karissa Gall - Black Press)

VIDEO: Horseback riding helps North Okanagan residents with special needs

North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association needs more volunteers to continue offering sessions

The North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association (NOTRA) spring session came to an end this week, after two months of riding lessons and games for 60 children and adults with special needs.

The well-attended spring session, held at O’Keefe Ranch, was a comeback for the association. Just last year they were forced to cancel their fall session due to a lack of volunteers.

“It was a huge hit when we told them that we weren’t having the fall session,” said Dani Goldenthal, who has been the program director for NOTRA for 20 years.

READ MORE: NOTRA hosts 27th annual ride-a-thon at Coldstream Ranch

Goldenthal said the horseback riding is fun and therapeutic for people with special needs, from ADHD to quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

“The movement of a horse actually simulates the gait of a person walking, so it moves their pelvis, their hips, their back, increases their core strength, builds muscles,” she said.

“For people that have intellectual disabilities … you can just imagine that they have a lot of areas of their life where they don’t have a lot of control, and here they come out and they get up on a 1,200-pound animal and they’re controlling it.

“The relationships that they build with the horse, with the volunteers, with the instructors are so positive.”

Devin Caza, a 13-year-old spring rider with special needs that include ADHD, said he also finds hanging out with the horses relaxing.

“You can just sit there and let the horse do the work,” Caza said. “I like petting them the most though.”

With the fall session set to start during the first week of September, Goldenthal said they need more volunteers to help with things like horse handling.

Volunteers are asked to commit to a two-and-a-half hour shift once per week for eight weeks. Classes are run at various times during business hours Monday through Friday.

READ MORE: North Okanagan group in need of horse help

Sicamous resident and first-time volunteer Ruth Cordonier recommended getting involved.

“They’re just so flexible,” Cordonier said, adding that she’s already looking forward to the fall 2019 session. “I’m going to miss it over the summer.”

For more information, visit the NOTRA website at notra.info/how-can-i-volunteer.



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association board member Kelly Parry displays a saddle that one of their volunteers made for riders with special needs. (Karissa Gall - Black Press)

Just Posted

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read