In Search Of…HorseSense for Special Riders

Just about everyone is involved in some sort of activity.  But for kids and adults with special challenges, it's not always easy.  This week, we go in search of... A program that's blazing new trails in the community.

Madeline Feldhake is getting ready for her weekly riding lesson. But this is no ordinary equestrian session. The
program Mattie is in is called Horsesense for Special Riders. It started in La Crosse back in 1989 and it’s geared to
be both recreational…and theraputic.
“The program is not just for fun. We’re here setting goals, trying to help our riders advance in many different
ways. We design games and activity to help them to learn to use their memory, to help them sequence events.”

Initially every rider is screened looking at their needs and abilities…and then placed in one of 4 different
levels. But each level is providing riders the opportunity to express themselves in a way they might not otherwise be
comfortable with. “Lots of us find it easy to bond with a horse. We have quite a few kids that are autistic, they
don’t have language. You don’t have to talk to a horse to be able to communicate. Week by week, we see them getting a
little braver, a little bolder, remembering a few more things. It’s pretty neat stuff.”

We went in search of…a program that’s blazing new trails in the community, we found it.

HorseSense for Special Riders is a non-profit organization and could always use funds to better serve our
community. If you would like to help out, or learn more about the program, call the La crosse Park and Recreation
department at 791-4868.

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