I cannot walk or run or play a game of tennis everyday. I cannot dance or ride a bike. I'll never know what skating's like. I have no soccer boots or ball, they are no use to me at all. I'll never ski the waves or snow, so many thrills I'll never know. I'll never sail the wind or surf, nor climb the snow capped peaks above, so many things I'll never love.


But I can ride through forest trails to see the fox and rabbit tails, and watch the geese and ducks take flight, while leaping stags and deer take fright. And I can follow mountain tracks, past climbers weighted down with packs, to trace a river to its source, astride the broad back of a horse. Yes, I enjoy the "sport of kings" when carried high my feet take wings. To fly me on a pleasure course, for I can mount and ride a horse.

Written by a student.


Therapeudic riding is the use of horse and horsback riding activies to achieve a variety of therapeutic goals for the student. These areas include physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and bahavioral goals.

Therapeutic riding is practiced in some form in most countries in the world and was reconized even in ancient civilizations as beneficial for handicapped persons.

Special needs individuals often deal with a lack of confidence. The concept of therapeutic riding is based on the idea that if you can put the person in a situation where they are doing something that other people can do, and something many others cannot do, the level of self confidence will dramatically improve. When on horseback, one feels "ten feet tall" and the students' spirtits soar. For some it may be the first time they can be mobile and independent of other people and mechanical aids. In addition to the obvious emotional benefits of the program, horseback riding also offers an excellent means for physical therapy.

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What is therapeutic riding?



September 2020


Dear members of the Exceptional Riders Program family.

We are reaching out to you again in these uncertain times to let you know we're still here. We don't know when next we'll meet but we continue to make plans for that time in 2021.

Everyone's safety is first and foremost in our minds. Consequently, our planning includes making sure we comply with all Department of Health policies and recommendations.

Because of the length of breadth of the pandemic, our focus during this shut down has now expanded to include making every effort to maintain our program as it currently exists. That means being able to provide our services free of charge to those in need when we resume activities. In order to do that, we need your help and support through donations. These donations will pay for our yearly PATH membership fees for our instructors and Exceptional Riders’ yearly fee to be part of PATH. The money will also pay for our insurance, continuing education for our instructors, and helping our new instructors to finish their accreditation through PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship).


There are several ways you can help us to continue as a registered 501C3 non-profit program. Donations may be made through our Facebook page; our website; donating your pop can and bottle return receipts; or by mailing your grocery receipts from your local grocery stores such as Family Fare in Boyne City or Oleson’s in Petoskey. The receipts specifically state at the bottom “Direct Your Dollars: This ENTIRE receipt needs to be turned in to your favorite non-profit group a 501C3# and help them earn $1000.00”


Receipts should be mailed to:

Exceptional Riders Program Treasurer

7326 North Street

Alanson, MI 49706-9232


And, finally, direct donations by check are also accepted. Please make your checks payable to Exceptional Riders Program and mail them to the address above.

We will get through these trying times and rediscover the joys of riding and all that means to you, our family. We will reach out to you again when we learn more and plans take shape. Until then, be well and stay safe. It will be wonderful to hear those words...

Walk on!

Mary Lee, Instructor
Volunteer Coordinator