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Horseback riding

  • Horseback riding with Courage Kenny Riders

    Giddy-up to this fun and friendly horseback riding program for children with disabilities!

    Who can be a Courage Kenny Rider?

    For youth ages 5 to 21 with a physical disability or sensory impairment may participate. Permission from the child’s parent or guardian is required, along with written permission from the child’s doctor.

    Individual evaluations are scheduled for new riders before lessons begin. Riders are placed in classes based on their needs, age and experience.

    For more information, contact Victor Loye at 651 241-3376 or

    Benefits of riding

    Horseback riding is widely recognized as one of the most beneficial forms of recreational therapy for people with disabilities.

    Riding develops self-awareness, builds confidence and improves concentration and self-discipline. It also relaxes, strengthens and tones muscles; increases joint mobility; and improves posture, balance and coordination.

    Riding is especially beneficial to people who use wheelchairs because the motion of horseback riding produces hip and back action that perfectly simulates a human’s walking gait.

    Riding also provides students with a unique source of trust and reassurance prompting many of them to gain new incentives for learning through interaction with their horses.

    Students gain a sense of freedom and awareness of their bodies that cannot be duplicated in conventional therapy. Overall, horseback riding gives each student a tremendous boost in self-esteem.


    Classes are held at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Lake Elmo.

    Financial assistance

    No participant will be turned away due to financial hardships. Cost sharing and scholarships are available. Contact the program coordinator at 651-241-3337 for more information.

  • Courage Kenny rider on a horse

    Volunteers are essential

    Trained volunteers supervise and assist students in grooming and tacking horses. During lessons they lead and walk beside horses. Specially trained volunteers or therapists may also ride behind students.

    To be a Courage Riders volunteer, experience with horses and/or people with special needs is helpful, but not necessary. Volunteer positions include horse leaders, backriders, sidewalkers, student aides, clerical support and fundraising.

    To volunteer, call Lisa Gacek at 651-241-3370.