Building confidence with horseback riding Submitted: 08/02/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

WOODRUFF - Animals can make humans feel better.

The relationship can even be a form of therapy.

Sarah Nei has Down syndrome.

She's built a lot of confidence over the last two years.

It's all thanks to a program in Woodruff called Hoof Prints of Hope.

"The purpose is to connect kids and horses and to help kids come out of their shell." said Hoof Prints of Hope Director, Cheryl Vos.

Vos started horseback riding lessons three years ago to help developmentally challenged kids.

"The riding program helps in a way that when a kid rides, the movement of the horse mimics our movement and it creates muscle memory," Vos said.

"So for them it changes their gait."

Sarah's mom has seen drastic improvement since Sarah first started.

"It shows me that she is capable of interacting with others. Capable of asking for what she wants." Dawn Nei said.

Students like Sarah aren't the only people benefiting from this program.

"If like there's people in my classroom or something, it kind of has the same thing as them. I can kind of help them because I know from this opportunity." said volunteer, Ashley Marquardt.

Someday, Vos wants to have her own ranch.

She would devote it to helping developmentally challenged kids and at-risk young adults.

"My goal is not to make a ton of money at this," Vos said.

"It's never been my goal. My goal is just to help kids and families."

Classes are every Monday at the Double D Ranch.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MINOCQUA - Shops in downtown Minocqua want a new way to draw customers to their businesses. The restart of the Minocqua Island Business Association comes at a perfect time, with the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Those businesses want to team up to attract people to downtown Minocqua. It's a more specific mission than the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

+ Read More

ST. GERMAIN - Ringing in the holiday season can be a special time of year for families.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Not everyone has time to go to the gym during the holiday season, but there still things you can do to stay active at home.

"While you're watching T.V., you can be on the ground doing sit-ups or planks –just anything," says Sheri Gaber, a fitness specialist at personal trainer at Tone Zone Fitness in Rhinelander. "Just keep moving. Keep that sedentary time down."

+ Read More

BLACKWELL - The Blackwell Job Corps Center in Forest County will celebrate its 50th anniversary next week. Students and staff will celebrate the occasion on Monday, November 30th.

They'll have a cake cutting ceremony at 3:00 p.m. The community is invited to join the students and staff in the recreation hall from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

+ Read More

VILAS COUNTY - An economic group in Vilas County can thank a local casino for a recent donation.

The Lake of the Torches Resort Casino presented members of the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation (VCEDC)with a $2,000 donation.

The donation happened earlier this month.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court says state troopers can stop motorists for littering.

The court ruled Wednesday in a case involving Daniel S. Iverson of Amery. Iverson was driving in La Crosse in 2014 when a state trooper pulled him over after he saw someone throw a cigarette out of the vehicle in violation of the state's littering law and cited Iverson for drunken driving.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Within a few months, Merrill Schools will officially protect transgender students under its nondiscrimination policy. Transgender students have received statewide attention lately—not for who they are, but for which bathroom they use.

Merrill is among the districts paying attention to the state conversation closely. Right now, Merrill expects its students to use the bathroom that matches the gender they declare during school registration.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here