4-H Council & Committees
- 4-H Council
- Clothing & Textiles Committee Reports
- Horse Committee
- Large Animal
- Small Animal
- Therapeutic Riding Program
Founded on the accepted principle that horseback riding is a valuable form of therapy for disabled individuals.
History of Horseback Therapy - The concept of therapeutic horseback riding (hippotherapy) dates back to ancient Greece, where it was employed to rehabilitate injured warriors. Today in the United States, there are over 500 therapeutic horseback programs.
How it is done - Our students have a wide range of developmental challenges such as: cerebral palsy, Spina bifida, Down Syndrome and autism.
Riders must wear a helmet with a chin strap. Volunteers walk on one or both sides of the horse and hold onto the rider’s legs. Another volunteer leads the horse around the arena and the instructor gives the rider directions for exercises.
Benefits for the Rider
- Posture: The stimulation combined with the warmth of the horse promotes normalization of muscle tone and improves posture.
- Gait: Adjusting to the changes of rhythm, speed and center of gravity, as well as the challenge of controlling the horse through those transitions, improves gait.
- Balance: Equilibrium is improved with the movement of the horse.
- Coordination: Riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to walking.
- Strength: Specific exercises are used during the riding session to increase strength and tone.
- Flexibility: Riding stimulates and relaxes muscles.
- Self-Awareness: The rider receives sensory input from all senses.
- Self-Confidence: Mastering the horse despite a disability can foster self-confidence and a positive attitude.
- Concentration: The rider makes the decisions to guide the horse to move in a specific direction.
- Self-Discipline: Riders must follow instruction to perform various exercises.
Benefits for the Volunteer
Volunteers are an essential part of Grand Equestrians. No horse experience is necessary. Volunteers will have the opportunity to:
- Demonstrate: increased awareness, sensitivity and appreciation of the abilities of people with physical, mental and/or emotional challenges.
- Assist: riders safely and properly as leaders and side-walkers.
- Learn: to use appropriate safety procedures and adaptive equipment.
- Explore: career opportunities in therapeutic riding and other related fields, such as medicine, education and rehabilitation.
- Involve: individuals with disabilities in other 4-H clubs and activities.
- Participate: in committee activities involving the responsibilities for planning, developing, facilitating and evaluating Grand Equestrians.
There are many areas where volunteers’ efforts are needed, such as fundraising, recruiting other volunteers, helping the instructor, assisting the riders, and public relations. Without volunteers, the students would not be able to ride. To become a 4-H TRP Volunteer, please contact the MSU Extension office at 517-546-3950.
If you would like to help our kids with fundraising or by contributing a tax deductible donation, call: Dorotha Bugard 517-521-3570.
Horse Committee Reports