Rural Missouri - January 2014 - (Page 9)

Left: Ben Allison of Cape Girardeau trots a horse as volunteers Garrett Sprenger and Joan Singer run alongside. Below: Parents Pam Arbeiter and Dan Southard watch their children through a window as they participate in a lesson at MVTH. MVTH Program Director Mary Ann Mann. "It can also help when people have emotional problems. If someone doesn't want to talk to anyone, they may talk to us around the horses." Pam Arbeiter, Faith's mother, is bringing her daughter to start her second set of sessions after finishing an 18-month course earlier in her life which, in part, dealt with her hearing loss and ability to project her voice. Now, she's back to work on adjusting to life with her new cochlear implants. Pam says riding has helped her daughter - even though she may not have realized it at the time. "What we've noticed is that she's working on a lot of goals, and she doesn't realize it because she's just having fun at Oak the barn," Pam says. "Through the horses, they're able to work on a lot of physical and mental outcomes, and the kids don't even know it." To start each session, riders mount their horses outside the ring. To end the class, they dismount in the ring and, if able, take the lead putting their horses back in their respective stalls. The participants' parents watch through a window just off the arena. Working through each week's session - which could include games such as Twister, Go Fish or mental jousting, all on horseback - each rider is led by an instructor and helped by three volunteers. The instructor runs the class taking charge of all the students. One volunteer leads in front of the horse, and the other two flank the rider to ensure safety. While leading a class toward the end of 2013, instructor Jamie Mayfield had riders working on leading their horses in full circles, stopping, turning the horse around and going in full circles the other way. The first few times, they do it with the assistance of a rope and the volunteers; after that, they lead the horse themselves. Later in the night, Mayfield had the volunteers running through the arena as the riders worked on trotting with the horse. It's all part of the plan, according to Mary Ann, who began volunteering with MVTH with her two daughters seven years ago. "I wanted to show them there were other places to serve besides inside our church," says the Black River Electric Cooperative member. "So they could go out and serve people in other ways. This became our family thing." Volunteer Phil Brinson of Cape Girardeau started working at MVTH three years ago with no previous experience with horses. "It's just a night-and-day difference that you can see with some of the kids," says the SEMO Electric Cooperative member. "Their confidence in riding, their confidence in communication skills and really their confidence in themselves comes through with the horses." Dan Southard of Cape Girardeau says his 8-yearold son, Landon, has improved both his communication skills and balance since starting with the program. "The biggest thing is that he's now able to walk on his own. He still has some balance issues we're working through, but before, he always wanted to hold on to somebody and didn't pay a lot of attention," Dan says. "But since he's been here with the horses, he pays more attention to his surroundings and not being so Ridge unsteady." Landon, who, like a lot of 8-yearolds, is into cars, now greets new volunteers or visitors by shaking their hands and asking them what they're driving. The electronic communication device he wore when he started at MVTH now gathers dust in a drawer. Fifteen-year-old Jacquelyn Roth has been riding for 13 years and has been with MVTH since the program started. She was born 11 weeks premature and was diagnosed with leukemia at a young age. Horse therapy has increased strength in her core and lower extremities. Therapeutic riding also helped Jacquelyn, who has been cancer free for more than 10 years, get through her chemotherapy, according to her mother, Dianne. "I love horses; they're very friendly animals," Jacquelyn says. "Getting to know all the volunteers here, too, they're also friendly. The horses and volunteers, they always listen to me intently. " The barn that is currently used was built in 2006 and was an upgrade from the outdoor area just down the hill. The farm boasts a total of 10 horses with different horses having different abilities. Horses are selected for each individual rider based on the riders' needs. The program is one of six in Missouri designated as a Premier Accredited Center from PATH International, a trade organization. Mary Ann's face lights up as she recounts some of the more extraordinary achievements or goals she's seen students achieve through the years, whether it be a student getting out of a wheelchair or learning how to talk. "It's amazing. It really is amazing. There's a lot of kids who come here, in a new environment, and they're kind of quiet. Then they get to know us and it's like a whole new person," she says. "For myself and volunteers to see that progress is pretty cool. JANUARY 2014 There's story after story that come out of this barn." Success stories will continue to come out of the barn with the help of the others, she adds. "Community support is how we survive. It's all done by donation," Mary Ann says. "It's expensive to feed and keep up the horses." "When you're out here volunteering, it's encouraging to see the progress they make. You know they look forward to it so much every week, as do we," says Phil moments after he stopped to tie the shoe of one of his students following a lesson. "They couldn't do this if everyone here were being paid, it just wouldn't be the same experience for the kids. It takes the volunteers to make it happen." To learn more about Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship, call 573-788-2100 or visit www. semohorsetherapy.org. MVTH Program Director Mary Ann Mann greets Faith Arbeiter as she comes in for a session. 9 http://www.semohorsetherapy.org http://www.semohorsetherapy.org

Rural Missouri - January 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2014

Rural Missouri - January 2014
Contents
Comments
Columns
Healing on horses
Gut instinct
Out of the Way Eats
Outdoors
For the birds
Missouri Snapshots
Hearth and Home
The company behind the meter
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Intro
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Rural Missouri - January 2014
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Contents
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Comments
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Columns
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 6
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 7
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Healing on horses
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 9
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 10
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 11
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Gut instinct
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 13
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Out of the Way Eats
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 15
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - For the birds
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 17
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 18
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Missouri Snapshots
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 20
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 21
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 22
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 23
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Hearth and Home
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 25
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 26
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 27
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - The company behind the meter
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 29
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Around Missouri
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 31
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 32
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 33
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Marketplace
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 35
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Neighbors
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - 37
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Just4Kids
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - January 2014 - Cover4
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