Young volunteers ride to the aid of therapeutic riding center


May 23, 2002|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AMANDA DECKER of Dayton and her friends love the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center (TRRC) in Glenwood. When they saw an opportunity to help the center, they were eager to contribute.

On Nov. 4, Oreo, a well-loved and important Norwegian fjord horse, died. That left the center with one Norwegian fjord, and a second was needed to meet the needs of the center's therapeutic riders.

"We need a bombproof pony," said Amanda's mother, Laura Decker, and this type of horse fits that description.

That's when the Saddle Club stepped in. Amanda, with friends Claire Knudsen of Glenelg, Allison Novak of Glenwood and Lauren Tevelow of Dayton, decided to raise enough money to purchase a Norwegian fjord. The girls and a few of their horse-loving friends have dubbed themselves the Saddle Club.

The young people take lessons at the center and volunteer as side-walkers, helping with the therapeutic riding.

"People see other people with disabilities, and they think they can't do anything," Claire said. "When I come here and work with them, it's rewarding, and it makes you feel better."

"TRRC is a great community service project," Allison said.

Laura Decker said the girls spend as much time as they can at the center - and it's no wonder. The center features indoor and outdoor rings, an observation area with one-way glass, a well-organized tack room and horses - everything that a young horse lover might want.

Saddle Club members lovingly show off the horses that live at the center - such as Rosemary, the remaining Norwegian fjord, and Scott, a former Budweiser horse. "He's fun to ride," Allison said. The horses are also used for lessons for people who have various levels of riding skill.

Milena Bartosiewicz, a physical therapist at the center, uses the principles of hippotherapy - using the horse as a therapeutic aide to help children with motor defects.

"All senses come into play when the kids work with the horses," Bartosiewicz said.

The center has so few horses available for physical therapy because they have to be stabled and not spook, she added.

"The fjord has an exceptional temperament for this program," center founder Helen Tuel said.

The horse's gait is similar to a human gait, according to Bartosiewicz. But she explained, "Each kid is a little different." So, ideally, the therapist would choose a different horse for each child, depending on how much movement the child needs from the horse.

Tuel is pleased that the Saddle Club volunteers took the initiative to help the center.

"It was grass-roots effort," she said. "They stepped to the plate and motivated everybody."

Laura Decker said the girls have raised about $3,000 from bake sales, craft sales and donations.

"The Saddle Club is made up of hard-working, dependable, compassionate girls," she said.

The center is accepting tax-deductible donations.

Information: 410-489-5100.

Winning musicians

The River Hill High School Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensembles and Indoor Guard competed in the Fiesta-Val music festival last month in Williamsburg, Va.

During the annual spring trip, the Symphonic Band earned an excellent rating and first place in Division 3, and the Wind Ensemble earned a superior rating and first place in Division 5. The Intermediate Percussion Ensemble won an excellent rating and first place in the Open Division, while the Advanced Percussion Ensemble earned a superior rating and first place in Division 4.

The Jazz Lab earned an excellent rating and first place in the Open Division, and the Jazz Ensemble received a superior rating and first place in Division 4, along with an award for best brass. The Indoor Guard scored an excellent rating and first place in its division.

Anna Berry won an award for best "jazz improv" and an award for her flute solo. Individual awards also were given to David Jacobson for his trumpet solo and Vishal Panchal for his drum solo.

The River Hill group also won overall first place for all concert bands, overall first place for all jazz ensembles and grand champion for instrumental ensembles.

Music teacher Steven Wampler received the Fiesta-Val "award of distinction" as director of bands for the Grand Champion Ensembles.

It was not all hard work, though. The students toured Colonial Williamsburg and sailed on a tall ship in the Norfolk, Va., harbor during the vacation.

Valerie and Greg Evans, Fred Joiner, Karen Goins, Tony White, Sue Zimmerman, Ginny Wollen, David Nardozzi and Keith Varner served as chaperones on the trip.

Winning entry

Glenelg High School senior Chris Stanton produced a commercial for WBFF Fox 45 television on the dangers of drinking and driving.

His commercial was the winning entry in a contest sponsored by Fox. The challenge was to create a public service announcement promoting safe driving at prom time.

Chris, who also works as a volunteer firefighter, featured damaged vehicles in his 30-second spot.

"He is an excellent videographer and editor," Glenelg media specialist Mel McNamara said.

The commercial will air today through Sunday.

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