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
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
Dan Southard of Cape Girardeau says his 8-yearold son, Landon, has improved both his communication skills and balance since starting with the
"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
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
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.
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.
MVTH Program Director Mary Ann Mann greets Faith
Arbeiter as she comes in for a session.
Rural Missouri - January 2014
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2014
Rural Missouri - January 2014
Healing on horses
Out of the Way Eats
For the birds
Hearth and Home
The company behind the meter
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