Category Archives: Your Kids

U Can Ride offers horseback riding lessons and helps those with disabilities

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By David Volz

Jennifer Gross loves horses and the opportunity to help others.

As one of three partners of U Can Ride, she can do both. She helps people with disabilities improve by riding horses and provides riding lessons to people without disabilities who want to learn to ride horses.

“Riding horses is a good form of exercise. It helps people with autism because they can gain a sense of independence and develop strength,” said Gross. She is a certified Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) therapeutic riding instructor. U Can Ride is based at Sand and Spurs Equestrian Park in Pompano Beach. The organization owns two horses, Prince and Libby, and has access to three more.

Gross believes that horseback riding is very beneficial to those who are working to overcome disabilities.

“Horses are beautiful and smart animals. By riding horses, people with disabilities establish a bond with the horses. It offers mental and physical therapy. It is great exercise both mentally and physically and helps people with their core, arms and legs,” said Gross. “The rider and the horse communicate. It is a positive experience.”

And the riders get to help care for the horses. If able, they will tack, which means placing the saddle on the horse and learn how brush the horse before placing the saddle. All this helps build self-confidence in the rider. “This helps people learn to accomplish goals,” said Gross.

Horseback riding is very beneficial to young people with autism because they learn how to follow directions. Henry Chadarevian has autism and participates in the U Can Ride program. He enjoys riding a horse on Saturday morning. His father, Raji Chadarevium, has been impressed with the program and seen how it has helped his son. “This is fantastic. By riding a horse, he is able to feel free and he is in control of the horse,” said Raji.

Sharon Tamayo, also a certified therapeutic riding instructor, is pleased to be a leader of U Can Ride and enjoys helping others. “Our program using horses teaches motor skills and helps disabled people improve their mobility. I have had people who could not walk and the horse provided them with legs,” said Tamayo, a partner. Donna Hite, also a partner, loves the opportunity to help others with horses.

Those who participate in the U Can Ride program as volunteers gain more knowledge of horse riding and caring for horses. And there are a group of dedicated teenagers who volunteer every Saturday by helping with the horses and the program.

The volunteers will clean stalls, help put saddles on the horses and help people get onto the horses. They will exercise the horses and assist in lessons. And they get to ride the horses and learn more about horses.

Victoria Tierney enjoys volunteering at U Can Ride. “I love riding horses and socializing with the other volunteers. We are a family,” she said.

Audrey Deoliveira also enjoys volunteering. “I have always loved horses and I learn new things here. I love the environment,” she said.

Engineering showcase event at Pompano Beach High School

By David Volz

Pompano Beach High School has partnered with Bennett Elementary School to showcase students’ engineering skills at the Robot Rodeo. The high school and elementary school students will compete against each other in programming a variety of robots. Over 150 students are expected to participate in event which will take place on Monday, May 18 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Pompano Beach High School at 600 NE 13th Avenue.