By David Volz
U Can Ride will work with Sand and Spurs Equestrian Park to host Derby Day.
The event will start at 11:00 a.m. and run until 3:00 p.m. It will include horse shows, arts and crafts, carnival games, a fire truck, pony rides, hay rides and plenty of food. There will also be a jewelry show and pet communicator activity. Sand and Spurs is located at 1600 Northeast Fifth Avenue.
The money raised with go toward U Can Ride and Sand and Spurs Equestrian Park. U Can Ride offers horseback riding opportunities for people with disabilities and the general public.
“It gives disabled people a sense of independence because they can do things we take for granted, such as move around,” said Jennifer Gross. She is one of the operators of U Can Ride and is certified with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship as a therapeutic riding instructor. “We have them form a bond with the horse and they develop a relationship with the horse.”
Most of the people that U Can Ride works with have Down Syndrome, autism, muscular dystrophy and attention deficit disorder. The horses offer an excellent source of therapy because they mimic human gait. By riding the horse, a disabled person can learn to move and walk. They become stronger and more flexible. Riding a horse helps strengthen people’s core and improve their balance.
Also, people who are involved in U Can Ride learn to care for a horse and can even clean the stalls occupied by the horses. This also helps improve the confidence of disabled individuals.