Donegal riding center debuts paved parking lot
Nickers ‘N Neighs Therapeutic Riding Center in Donegal recently increased accessibility for disabled visitors via the paving of a portion of the center's parking lot.
“Having an accessible parking area leads to so many possibilities,” said Lin Podolinsky, the center's executive director.
The parking lot was made possible by a $10,000 grant received by the R.K. Mellon Family Foundation.
With the increased accessibility, Podolinsky said, center officials can teach additional students with physical disabilities that they were previously unable to serve.
The foundation focuses primarily on Western Pennsylvania charitable activities, with emphasis on education, healthcare, social and human services and conservation.
Anne Petrof of Ligonier brings her son, Max, to the facility to ride.
“It makes it much easier for Max to use his walker to get into the building. We really appreciate the convenience,” Petrof said.
The increased accessibility meets standards upheld by the Americans with Disabilities Act to serve current and future students beset with special challenges. In addition, the enhanced parking lot enables the center to pursue accreditation through Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, a federally-registered nonprofit, and the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs.
The center's main program serves children and adults by teaching horsemanship and riding skills.
Officials there served 138 individuals from multiple counties last year with individualized lessons. Therapeutic riding includes therapy, education, sport and recreation. The rhythmic, three-dimensional and symmetrical movement of the horse helps riders with physical challenges gain flexibility, balance and muscle strength. Individuals with emotional or behavioral challenges can build confidence, patience and self-esteem with the unique nature of the human-to-equine relationship, according to the organization's website.
“Accessibility can be a huge barrier for individuals with disabilities,” said Katie Smith, 27, of Stahlstown, a student at the center who suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury in a 2007 car accident.
“The mission at Nickers ‘N Neighs makes activity accessible, but with the new parking lot, the building itself is also accessible to everyone,” she said.
The center's mission is to improve the lives of children and adults with special challenges through a therapeutic partnership with horses. For additional information about the facility, call 724-593-8121.
Kelly Vernon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-547-5722 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Carnegie Steel Co. beam lights Mt. Pleasant area welder’s way
- Stahlstown walk to benefit Emma Marie Keller Memorial Foundation
- Mt. Pleasant-area TREA chapter marks 15th anniversary