NORWALK, Conn. – Adults with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities from STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, recently began their winter session in equine care at New Canaan Mounted Troop.
The 32 participants will take part in the six-week winter session, followed by an eight-week spring session that includes riding skills and is anticipated to attract another 35 or more participants.
Now in its fourth year, the collaborative program between STAR and New Canaan Mounted Troop continues to grow and is in great demand as one of many community-based programs that fosters social engagement, confidence-building, caregiving, inclusion and independence for young adults to seniors in New Canaan, Norwalk, Darien, Westport, Weston and Wilton.
“We are thrilled that our collaborative program with New Canaan Mounted Troop and, specifically, their Super Troopers Program, has attained such remarkable popularity among our STAR participants. It is wonderful to see the growth in these inclusive, community-based experiences that STAR provides to our neighbors with disabilities and the fulfillment of our mission to create opportunities for individuals to live full lives with independence, freedom of choice and personal growth,” said Kari Ryan, director of day services at STAR.
The Equine Care program offers activities that promote physical, occupational and emotional growth for persons with special needs, and allows students to develop a bond with the horses as they work with and around them. Participants from STAR, including six who are non-ambulatory, participate in fundamental equine care such as brushing, picking hooves, cleaning tack and adorning blankets or other horse apparel. These activities build physical, cognitive skills and emotional skills while encouraging interaction, caretaking and compassion for their equine partners.
“Our Super Troopers therapeutic program embraces the many gifts that horses bring into our lives. Students, volunteers and instructors alike experience each day the lessons learned by working with our incredible equine partners. We are so proud of our STAR students and their many accomplishments,” said Caroleigh Evarts, therapeutic riding coordinator.
STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way is a not–for-profit organization serving individuals of all ages who have developmental disabilities, as well as providing support services to their families.
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