Hocking College and a local horse farm owner are providing therapeutic horseback riding lessons for area adults with developmental disabilities and creating educational experiences for college students.
Tami Harter, who spearheaded the program, is a certified riding instructor through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and a workshop specialist at Atco. Heath Harter, Tami's husband, accompanies her on this journey to campus to provide these lessons.
"They feel a sense of happiness when working with an animal," Tami Harter said, describing the feedback she's received from the adults at Atco. "A horse doesn't judge them because they may have a disability. It can appreciate getting attention while the individual is learning a new skill."
Sarah Baker, the owner and manager of EMBE Acres Horse Farm, donates the use of her facility for the program.
Both Tami and Heath say they hope to see the program expand. Tami said she'd like to see weekly riding opportunities for the adults enrolled with Atco. Heath would like to see a Hocking College class dedicated to therapeutic riding. The next weekend workshop is being scheduled for sometime in the fall of 2014.
Read more about this program on The Athens Messenger.