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

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Demand doubles at Revelstoke food bank

Community Connections concerned whether they can meet increasing need

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

COVID-19: Revelstoke 3D printing face shields for local hospital

‘The response has been completely overwhelming’

Revelstoke Search and Rescue notice significant drop in calls

SAR across the province dropped roughly 90 per cent last week

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

COVID-19: South Okanagan community salutes frontline medical staff

“Honk for the unsung heros. Thanks to each and every one of you”

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

Okanagan College student designs map tracking spread of COVID-19 in B.C.

Sean Heddle says fighting complacency and misinformation is important

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in West Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

Summerland’s April 1 snow measurements above normal

Measurements taken at Summerland Reservoir and Isintok Lake

Okanagan Skaha School Board does not anticipate closures

School district budget tight as a result of declining enrolment

Most Read