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)

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)

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

A Vernon man's faith in humanity has been restored since his lost wallet was returned, credit cards, cash and all, to the RCMP station. (Contributed)
Good Samaritan turns in cash-filled wallet to Vernon Mounties

Owner’s faith in humanity restored following a tough few weeks

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Most Read