Russ Mundy, 47, of Sykesville.Hobbies and other...

NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS

January 23, 1994

Russ Mundy, 47, of Sykesville.

Hobbies and other activities: Mr. Mundy volunteers at the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center in Lisbon, teaching riders with special needs. He emphasizes participants' riding skills rather than their disabilities. The center also is a rehabilitation agency, with physical and occupational therapists who treat patients on horseback. The center is in its 10th year of operation, eight of them in Howard County.

Mr. Mundy helps with vaulting activities, "which are sort of like gymnastics on horseback," he said.

Participants learn to ride while on their hands and knees, ride backward, stand up on the horse and perform other trick riding.

Mr. Mundy also works with the horses and teaches participants new activities related to therapy. He said he has been volunteering for three years at the center, but has been involved with similar programs for about 10 years. Mr. Mundy's son, Matthew, 13, who has cerebral palsy, has been riding horses since he was 4 years old.

Mr. Mundy rode horses as a child growing up on a cattle farm in Iowa and now takes lessons at the center on a 10-year-old Clydesdale named Scott.

Scott was originally bred by the Anheuser-Busch Co., said Mr. Mundy. Unfortunately, he didn't "make the cut" as a show horse for Budweiser. Scott came to the center last summer.

"He's very kind and gentle. He has a very positive personality to him," said Mr. Mundy.

"He is used for therapy and for riding, and at some point in the future we would like to have the equipment to have him do some driving for us, pulling equipment."

Mr. Mundy also enjoys music and computers. He and his family play various instruments at home.

Organization's comments: "He gives so many hours," said Helen Tuel, founder and director of the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center. "He goes over and above when helping me. He gets horses ready for shows, drives the trailer to horse shows. He brings his wife and children, and they sometimes devote a whole weekend to us. They have great enthusiasm."

Volunteer's comments: "We are all [the Mundy family] involved at various points during the year," said Mr. Mundy, "especially during horse show time. The center is marvelous in giving the kids the opportunity to participate in shows. We take 15 to 20 horses, and upward of 100 riders to three shows a year. It takes a lot of preparation: cleaning, hauling the horses, and looking after the horses and the kids.

"The logistics of getting the kids ready and the horses, by washing, grooming, cleaning all the tack. . . . It's really a wonderful opportunity, whether they are non-handicapped or therapeutic riders. Most would never get to go to a show, without the help of the center. It's a particularly busy time.

"The Howard County Horse Show Association has a division for therapeutic riders and has been supportive in that area. Susan Porter sponsors a show, with all the profits benefiting the riding center.

"To a large extent, I am a strong believer in helping other people to achieve more. Besides, horses are fun."

About Mr. Mundy: He has been married to Linda Mundy for almost 23 years. They have three children: Alison, 16; Matthew, 13; and Susan, 10. He is employed as a principal networking scientist at Trusted Information Systems in Glenwood.

The Mundy family has moved a number of times during Mr. Mundy's 20-year career in the Air Force. He retired 4 1/2 years ago and moved here from Virginia three years ago.

For more information on the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center, call 442-2880.

For volunteer opportunities in Howard County, call the Columbia Volunteer Corp at 715-3163. To make a nomination or receive a nomination form, call Jill L. Kubatko at 715-2813 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nominations may be faxed to the office at 715-2816.

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