Kids & Horses riding sessions began for the year Jan. 13 at the Double W Ranch in Minden. Kids & Horses is a nonprofit therapeutic riding center serving people with physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities.
Kids & Horses was founded by Sam Waldman in 1999 and is accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, Inc. NARHA was founded in 1969 to promote and support equine assisted activities in the U.S. and Canada. There are 750 NARHA centers utilizing more than 35,000 volunteers, 2,600 instructors and 5,000 therapy equines serving 36,000 individuals with disabilities.
Whether for a child with Down Syndrome or an adult recovering from a spinal cord injury, equine-assisted activities provide mental and physical challenges as well as rewards. Horsemanship improves strength, coordination and imparts a sense of freedom.
Kids & Horses maintains six therapy horses and has 32 students. The center utilizes considerable volunteer support. Each lesson may require up to four people - a NARHA certified instructor, a horse handler and two side-walkers.
Other than instructors, lesson participants are volunteers. There are 72 part-time volunteers at Kids & Horses, but there's always a need for more. For information on becoming a Kids & Horses volunteer, call 267-1775.
Duke the Fjord, a longtime program horse, retired to a new life on a cattle ranch near Battle Mountain where his job is to help raise two young boys and chase the ranch steers. News from the Filipini Ranch is that he is excelling at both tasks.
Jesse Blackstockings, a young Nevada mustang, was donated last August and has graduated into the active equine team. She's been used in lessons since Jan. 13 and carried an 8-year-old students as though she'd been doing it for years.
Curly is a young American Bashkir curly horse, a breed known for their hypoallergenic coats. Curly came to Kids & Horses last October and is quite a character.