Oak Ridge
Performance  Horses

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Horsemanship For Handicappers

Our Mission

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.


Our Goals

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.


Our Program

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.


Our Horses

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.


Our Volunteers

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.


Our Instructor

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.