It’s no wonder that Jan Vescelius calls the movement of horses “magic.” She’s watched it, over 29 years, improve the physical and mental health of all types of people with disabilities at Therapeutic Riding, Inc. in Ann Arbor. And, as executive director of the nonprofit, she’s happy to share the stories that prove it. “We have a young lady that has ridden with us for many years,” Vescelius says. “Because of her disability, they originally thought she was going to have bilateral hip surgery. Then her doctor wrote us a letter and said that because of her riding she was no longer going to need that surgery.” Another young rider came to Therapeutic Riding after a tragic accident: he was hit by a car while on his bicycle. “He came in a very broken young man at age 9,” Vescelius said. “Now he’s 20 years old, going to college, driving himself and he’s an independent rider. Riding was a large part of building his confidence back up.”
Vescelius says riders like these take advantage of horses’ movements to help correct tone, teach balance, strengthen muscles, improve flexibility and stimulate the brain. People of all ages with disabilities can do the same at Therapeutic Riding. And, Vescelius says, “No one is ever turned away for lack of funds.” On top of learning how to ride, students receive training in subjects like horsemanship and grooming. “These aren’t just pony rides.” Call 734-677-0303 or visit www.therapeuticridinginc.org for more info.