Mountain Dell Equestrian to cater to special needs children

Jul 30, 2014
Photo by: Donated Mountain Dell Equestrian is asking for donations to purchase equipment to better serve special needs and differently-abled children.

Mountain Dell Equestrian has been serving Haywood County and surrounding counties for 24 years. They offer hunt seat and western riding lessons to children and adults, and also have a variety of programs for clients to develop a love and knowledge of horses. Their students are all ages and their goals range from just wanting to try something new all the way to competing on a national level.

Mountain Dell has recently begun working with several community businesses and organizations that specialize in assisting special needs or differently-abled individuals. Mountain Dell wants to give access to these community members so that they may enjoy the benefits of horseback riding.

Horseback riding has physical, mental and emotional benefits for all riders. Imagine a child with the same intelligence, imagination and emotion as every other child, except he or she is confined to a wheelchair.  A horse can allow that them to feel the joy that they may miss; the horse moves for them, works their core muscles, teaches coordination and builds confidence.

Mountain Dell wants to integrate this new aspect to its programming without reducing the quality of education and riding experience for existing clients. It is important that the facility stays safe for students who need full use of the arena to jump or work on advanced maneuvers, which means that permanent mounting system would be inconvenient.

In order to meet the needs of these riders, Mountain Dell needs to acquire several pieces of equipment.

The first phase will be to purchase a portable wheelchair accessible mounting ramp. One of the many advantages to owning a portable ramp is that it can be moved to offsite activities and loaned to other groups in need.

Handi-Ramp has offered a 10 percent discount on the purchase of the ramp. Mountain Dell created a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for the equipment. Visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/mountain-dell-equestrian-mounting-ramp to donate.

Phase II will be to purchase a vaulting barrel to help students practice maneuvers, build strength and flexibility and safely practice without overusing the horses.

Phase III is the purchase of an "Equicizer" — a spring-balanced replica of horse that can be activated by the riders body movements. This can be used for mounting practice, position details and exercise.

Those who donate $25 will be given an opportunity to come visit and meet the horses. Those who contribute a large amount will be given lessons for themselves or a loved one.

For more information, visit www.mountaindellequestrian.com.

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