Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Therapy program to host rodeo

Proceeds help Ky. riding group for disabled

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

ALEXANDRIA - Raising horses and working as an occupational therapist might not seem like careers that go hand-in-hand.

But for Mary Lunn and her 40 disabled horseback riding students at the Bluegrass Icelandic Horse Farm in Alexandria, the combination has been a natural fit.

What: CowBOYGIRL Classic Rodeo
When: 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: Alexandria Fairgrounds in Campbell County - Fairgrounds Road off Ky. 10.
Cost: $12 adults, $8 children 6-12, free to children 5 and under. No coolers permitted.
Some games for children and contests for adults require sign-up at area businesses. For information, call 694-7669 or 331-8093.
Lunn is the program director of Milestones, a non-profit therapeutic riding program for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.

This Friday and Saturday evenings, Milestones will host the Lone Star Rodeo Company's "CowBOYGIRL Classic Rodeo" at the Alexandria Fairgrounds, a third-generation rodeo from Primm Springs, Tenn.

The two-hour show each evening will be preceded by two hours of free games and prizes for kids of all ages.

Milestones will be the beneficiary of proceeds raised at the event.

"We have riders here with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and Down syndrome," said Lunn, who works with children as young as 3 years of age. "It's therapeutic intervention more than it is riding lessons."

Lunn said the gait of a horse is parallel to a human gait, which helps a physically disabled child move his or her body correctly while riding a horse. She said other therapeutic benefits to riders include moving the horse in different directions, controlling it through steering and stopping and bonding with the animal.

Milestones, in its fifth year, is funded through grants and lesson fees, and is staffed mainly by volunteers.

It is a Premier Accredited Center of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, the only one in Northern Kentucky, according to Lunn.


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