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Helping Hands Therapeutic Riding Center Hosts Patriotic Musical Kur Children and adults with disabilities demonstrate skills in horsemanship
July 2, 2011
Tribune Photo/Fred Poese
On Saturday, June 25th horseback riders with disabilities and the horses of Helping Hands Therapeutic Riding Center (HHTRC) performed a patriotic musical Kur at HHTRC’s outdoor corral near Stringtown Road just southeast of Lee’s Summit and Greenwood.
Led by Courtney Mellor, an equine specialist and certified instructor at Helping Hands, riders performing in the Kur—in order of their rides—included Margi Gray, Patrick Cresswell, Cathy Odette, Alexis Gifford, David McAllister, Olivia Bredeman, T.J. Hewitt, Anna Trotter, Tricia Schnoor, Camille Nelson, Kristel Cawelti and Cody Roper.
Riders performing in the patriotic musical Kur included children and adults, some of whom have physical disabilities and others with developmental disabilities.
A Kur is defined as a dressage test that is ridden to instrumental music. Dressage is an equestrian term for the art or method of training a horse in obedience of movement. Following a trumpet salute and the national anthem all of the riders and their horses performed with artistry and precision. The riders and horses performed to such patriotic songs as This Land is Your Land, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Stars and Stripes Forever.
Helping Hands Therapeutic Riding Center has riding programs for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities, as well as their Horses for Heroes program for veterans with physical disabilities.
Helping Hands is one of the premiere therapeutic riding centers in the country and is the only PATH International accredited riding center in Jackson County. PATH (Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship) was formerly known as NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.)
PATH accreditation requires a high level of compliance to 140 rules and regulations that ensure rider safety, as well as many other requirements. Since its founding in 2003, Helping Hands has conducted over 15,000 therapeutic riding sessions for riders with disabilities without any rider safety incidents.
Helping Hands Therapeutic Riding Center is a Greater Kansas City United Way agency and is in constant need of tax deductible contributions to continue their services to riders with disabilities.
With well over 100 riders with disabilities participating in their programs on a regular basis, Helping Hands is pursuing expansion of their facilities to accommodate individuals on their wait list in order to provide therapy to hundreds more.
Jeff Grisamore, Missouri State Representative for Lee’s Summit and Greenwood—who was on hand for the event said that Helping Hands is “a leading organization in the emerging area of animal assisted therapies.”
Hippotherapy is a specialty of Helping Hands. It is the use of the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy in physical, occupational, speech-language and behavioral therapy sessions for people living with disabilities. Helping Hands Executive Director, Janellen Cappo, a former regional director, has provided national certified training and PATH center mentorship to other organizations providing hippotherapy.
“The Lee’s Summit area is host to some outstanding non-profits, like Helping Hands, that provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to engage in animal assisted therapies,” said Representative Grisamore. Horse Power, Returning Glory, and Show Time Lamas & Alpacas also provide animal assisted opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
While these animal assisted therapy organizations emphasize ground work, in which participants interact with animals while in the ground, Helping Hands PATH accreditation and expertise allows individuals with disabilities to actually ride horses in their programs.
For more information on Helping Hands Therapeutic Riding Center, you can visit their web site www.hhtrc.org.
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