Horsemanship For Handicappers
Horsemanship For Handicappers
Horsemanship For Handicappers (HFH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing instruction for therapeutic and recreational horseback riding to maximize potential in children and adults with physical, emotional, mental and social challenges by providing
them with a safe, stimulating, self-esteem building experience.
The main goal of the HFH program includes social and emotional growth as well as physical exercise and enjoyment. All students are taught proper riding techniques and are encouraged to become as proficient as their capabilities allow, so they can have the satisfaction of riding independently or with minimal assistance.
The sessions are 6-8 weeks long and are held during the spring and fall months. A summer session is geared to children who ride in the county fairs and horse shows. Therapeutic riding benefits students in many ways. These include: Developing self-awareness, building self-confidence, improving concentration and self-discipline. Improving balance, posture, coordination, self-esteem, social growth and independence. Relaxing and strengthening muscle and increasing joint mobility. Expanding general knowledge and increasing awareness of animal care by teaching horse and stable management. Helping to bring awareness to riders and the community of the abilities and capabilities of differently abled individuals.
Horses are specially selected and trained for temperament, size and gait. Bonds form between riders and horses so our horses love affection. Special equipment is used
during riding instruction to make this a safe, fun experience.
Without these dedicated individuals HFH wouldn't exist. The caring, generous donations of their time touches the lives of Bay County area children. This doesn't come without reward. As one volunteer said as he returned the beaming smile of a little girl with cerebral
palsy as she "walked" around the arena on her horse, with him at her side: "THAT is what makes this worthwhile, that smile." New volunteers are always welcome. Previous experience with horses is not necessary, smiles are.
Tina Bennett has been instructing Bay County HFH and Exceptional Horseback Riders of Saginaw County for over 13 years. In 1991, she became Cheff Center Certified Riding Instructor and a Michigan 4-H Horsemanship for Handicappers Program (HFH) instructor, now known as the Proud Equestrians Program (PEP). In 1995, she became a certified riding instructor for the NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association). Tina is also the first person in Michigan to be certified as a NARHA Driving Specialty Instructor and Evaluator. Her greatest qualification, however, is her love and dedication to all riders. She is able to relate to each rider on their individual level and has the heartfelt desire to improve
their physical and mental well-being.
How You Can Help
We are a non-profit organization. Our program is funded entirely on tax deductible donations. In order to keep this program running funds are needed to sponsor the riders and the horses, to purchase special equipment and for general operating expenses. We strive to offer the HFH Program free to all students. If your interested in watching a class, volunteering, donating money or equipment, please contact Leslie Darrow (989) 450-1176.