June 19th the Ride On St. Louis horses, staff and volunteers traveled to Babler State Park to bring equine-assisted activities to children with physical disabilities participating in the The Disabled Athletes Sports Association (DASA) summer Camp WeCanDu. Children ages 6-16 with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, amputations and other disabilities participated in the week-long, traditional summer camp experience. Special camp activity included an opportunity for campers to experience riding a therapy horse with Ride On St. Louis. All campers with mild to severe disabilities were invited to try horseback riding with the help of therapy horses Cruz, Diego and April, and the Ride On St. Louis staff and volunteers. "Adaptive equipment and specialized training allow the kids to ride, have fun and experience the equine world," says Ride On St. Louis Director Marita Wassman. For many campers this was their first time on horseback.
This has been the sixth year that Ride On St. Louis has been invited to participate in this event. Thank you to Kim Lorenz, Camp WeCanDu Co-Director and Jeff for all their assistance in making the event possible. Thank you to Ride On St. Louis staff and volunteers Laurie B., John B., Nancy F., Brian F., Debbie H., Jeanne J., Josh K., Kami K., Katie L., Karen S., BriAnn S., Barb S., Sue S., Marita W., Susan W., April, Cruz and Diego.
Special thanks to Norman Schaefer and Mark Schaefer of Schaefer Trucking in Columbia, Illinois for allowing Ride On St. Louis to borrow their personal vehicle to haul our trailer. (The day before the event, the Ride On St. Louis work truck had unexpected mechanical issues that will require repairs to be operational. The truck repairs so far this year total over $1700. If you are able to assist in any repair costs, we would be truly grateful. Your tax deductible donation may be made here.)
"The rain held off and it was a beautiful day and a beautiful time. As the kids ride, they share their favorite memories of the week and many mention [Ride On St. Louis]," says Karen S., who has been volunteering with Ride On St. Louis for eight years.
DASA is a nonprofit organization that serves the community by providing adaptive sport and fitness opportunities. Fore more information visit their website at www.dasasports.org