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April 22 04:05 PM
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Therapeutic equestrian program riding high


To the Editor

On behalf of the riders, families, staff, and all who benefit from the Lapeer County 4-H Proud Equestrian Program of therapeutic horseback riding for children with disabilities, our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the people who make the program possible.

To the Knights of Columbus Imlay City and Lapeer Councils who have generously supported the program with donations for many years; to Dr. Barbara Chapman of Metamora for the use of her indoor arena and her horses; to the dedicated teen volunteers-Stephanie Bodenbach, Ben Horton, Larissa Pettit, Amanda Taylor, Jennifer Leonard, Jennifer Bryson, Darya Markgraf, Emily Kratz; adult volunteers-Sandy Bodenbach, Lori Hall, Patti Stack, Dusty Klauka; and to instructors Janice Melzer and Karen Angell, thank you for your generous and faithful support.

Without the volunteers, the monetary donations, the horses, and a spacious indoor arena to shield us from the weather, we would not be able to offer this worthwhile program to people with special needs in our community.

PEP is a therapeutic horseback riding program that helps individuals with special needs who are age 5-26 years. It helps in many ways; it might be to improve balance, posture and coordination; build confidence, self-esteem and promote social skills; or provide a feeling of freedom and independence that is not experienced in daily life. The smiles on the faces of the riders and their parents express the value of the program more than words could ever do.

The PEP Program is offered in two six week sessions, one in the spring and one in the fall. The classes run for 30-40 minutes each and are held once a week during the six week sessions. Anyone who would like more information may call Jean at the MSU Extension office at 810-667-0343. Donations of time, loaned horses, monetary support and inquiries about participating as riders are always welcome.

Jean Kreiner, Lapeer County PEP 4-H Youth Program
June 17, 2009

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