Therapeutic Riding Program Fundraiser March 9
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
February 13, 2008
Mandi Evans (L) and Kelly Eagles ( R ) leading Flash, one of the horses used
by UNH’s therapeutic riding program.
A young girl who hadn’t been able to put two words together said her
first sentence to a horse she’d been riding while participating in UNH’s
therapeutic riding program.
After the lesson, her instructor told her to thank the horse for the ride.
The girl leaned over, kissed the horse on the nose and said, “I love
The riding program offers therapeutic treatment to individuals with physical,
emotional, and cognitive disabilities while creating an environment that helps
integrate members of the disabled and able-bodied communities.
Participants include individuals with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, post
traumatic stress disorder and other conditions. Current clients range in age
from 5 to 57.
“A horse is such a strong motivator. We can get kids to do things they
wouldn’t do in any other setting,” says Cindy Burke, director of
the 19-year-old program.
On Sunday, March 9 at 5 p.m. in the New England Center’s Great Bay Room,
the group will host a dinner and silent auction to help raise money for the
Tickets—which won’t be sold at the door- are $50 per person.
The riding program benefits from being housed at the university; horses from
the UNH equestrian program are made available to clients and the campus offers
a ready supply of volunteers. But money for special helmets and equipment,
as well as office supplies, are paid for by the program.
Additionally, Burke says, they try to offer scholarships to those individuals
who can’t afford the $190 for six group lessons during a six-week period.
Sometimes, money is used to buy a new horse.
“We can’t just grab any horse and put it in the barn to use with
our clients. It has to be a special horse,” Burke says. “We get
to see the horses through the regular UNH riding program. If six horses freak
out when the dumpster is emptied and one doesn’t, we say, ‘let’s
look at him.’”
Burke, who has been the program director for five years, is a certified riding
instructor. The program is certified through the North American Riding for
the Handicapped Association, Inc.
Lessons are offered three times a year and draw between 25 and 30 participants
For tickets to the March 9 fundraiser, mail checks to UNH TRP, Equine Center,
278 Mast Rd. Ext., or contact Cindy Burke at 2-0131, via email firstname.lastname@example.org
or at www.trp.unh.edu.