National Sports Center for the Disabled dedicates riding arenas to volunteers
Most volunteers at the National Sports Center for the Disabled’s Therapeutic Riding Center amass around 50 hours each summer.
This summer, Nancy Roark had 50 volunteer hours before the center had given its first lesson.
Jack and Debbie Reichert, whose daughter Haley is a participant in the program, were instrumental in securing new footing material for the center’s two riding rings.
A group of friends, volunteers and staff gathered at the center on Tuesday morning, Aug. 25 to honor Roark and the Reicherts by dedicating one of the center’s two arenas to each.
“We literally can’t do what we do without volunteers, whether summer or winter, and especially at the riding center,” said NSCD President and CEO Becky Zimmerman. “We have the best volunteers the world.”
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Before the dedication, Nicole Robinson, the riding center’s supervisor, thanked both parties for their support of the NSCD.
“We thank you guys for everything that you’ve done out here,” Robinson said. “These arenas would not look like this without Jack, and these horses would not be here without Nancy, so without these folks we wouldn’t have this to share.”
This summer will be Roark’s 14th as an NSCD volunteer.
She first heard about the program from a neighbor when she moved to Grand County, she said.
“It’s kind of addictive,” Roark said. “You just come back summer after summer, because if you have a passion for horses and a passion for kids, then it’s the best of both worlds.”
Debbie and Jack Reichert first brought Haley to the riding center in 2007.
They found that the sensation of horse riding helped immensely with their daughter’s spasticity, Jack said.
“The sensation relaxes her muscles and she really enjoys it,” Jack said.
Debbi volunteers regularly at the riding center.
“I’ve seen it do amazing things for the riding students,” Debbie said. “Kids who are mostly nonverbal will come and talk to their horse and tell their horse to walk on and to who, and their parents are just amazed that they’re talking, much less to a horse.”
For more information about the NSCD’s therapeutic riding program, visit nscd.org.
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