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Riders Unlimited, Inc. looks to the community for support in the face of closure

On a peaceful farm just north of Oak Harbor, Riders Unlimited, Inc. made its home in 2011. The facility was just what the therapeutic equestrian program needed to thrive: it housed the Riders Unlimited herd in easy-access stalls, provided an indoor arena for safe and comfortable Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapy, featured an attached home that could be converted to house the Board room and business office, had wide aisle ways that could provide plenty of room for horses, wheelchairs, and observers, and it had the room to grow and develop with the program for years to come. Over three years of being owned by the non-profit organization, the facility has underwent many improvements to increase accessibility, safety, and comfort for all riders, horses, and volunteers. During a hard winter, volunteers banded together and gave up more of their time to ensure that everything remained safe for the herd so that the horses would be healthy and happy for when their riders returned in the spring. The time and effort has, however, taken its toll.

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Riders Unlimited

Michael mounting his horse 

When Michael arrived at the stable Thursday he had been sitting in his wheelchair all day. Eager to ride, he mounted his horse Sprite, and took to the show ring. At first when Michael started around the ring he was tense, but as he and Sprite circled the ring Michael became more comfortable and loosened up. The volunteers and the program director, Rebekah Recker, guided Michael through exercises as he rode that helped loosen his body.

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