The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 10, 2013

Horse-riding offered for people with disabilities

By Brian Ojanpa
bojanpa@mankatofreepress.com

---- — WASECA — Children and adults with disabilities can sit tall in the saddle on four Wednesdays in June.

That’s when the annual Special Horses for Special People rides take place at the Waseca County Fairgrounds.

The event gives people a chance to experience hand-guided horseback riding, rides in wagons or, if preferred, just getting up close and personal with the animals.

“Sometimes, they’re happy just to pet them,” said Kari Haslip, a member of Achieving Dreams for Disabilities of Waseca County, a year-old group that previously was part of a Steele County developmental disabilities advocacy organization.

Haslip said the rides began 11 years ago with 35 riders and now limits the event to 145 in deference to the number of horses available.

She said most people who choose to ride a horse can do so with a conventional saddle, but for those requiring special accommodations, a chair-like safety saddle is employed.

The 6-7:30 p.m. free rides will be offered June 5, 12, 19 and 26, and registration forms must be completed by May 17. To acquire forms or more information call 507-835-2058.

Achieving Dreams for Disabilities is a United Way agency that also helps children and adults with expenses they can’t fully cover on their own.