What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog


February 12, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Volunteers Receive Extensive Training to Support Therapeutic Riding Program;
Rider and Therapy Horse Sponsorships Available
Thurmont, MD (February 10, 2014).  Volunteers are encouraged to sign-up for the Frederick County 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program (FC4HTRP) before Spring Volunteer Training begins April 5, 2014.  Each year 78 students receive therapeutic riding lessons free-of-charge for seven weeks in the spring and seven weeks in the fall.  The program, which was established in 1984 with 16 riders, maintains a waiting list of hopeful riders each year.  The FC4HTRP Program’s expansion is limited to the number of volunteers who are available to assist with riders and horses, as well as donations received.  This year over 40 riders are waiting for the opportunity to participate in the program.
Photo of Kristofer Schrumpf, a student in the program.

Photo of Kristofer Schrumpf, a student in the program.

The FC4HTRP provides a recreational experience and therapeutic regimen to Frederick County citizens with medically certified mental, physical and emotional disabilities.  Riders must submit physician, therapist and teacher information about their condition before beginning the program.  FC4HTRP therapists and instructors review the riders’ medical history and develop a personalized program for each student in collaboration with his/her physician, therapist, teacher/employer, riding instructor and family members.


“We are very grateful for the volunteers that commit their time to our program,” said Debbie Endlich, president of FC4HTRP.  “Without them we would not be able to offer our riders weekly 45-minute rides during the spring and fall sessions. If more folks are able to join our volunteer program we would be able to serve more students.”


Fee-based classes are also offered during the winter and summer on Saturday mornings as well as private therapeutic lessons to our students.


“Learning to balance on the horse, to steer, control and interact with a large animal not only improves muscle tone, balance and coordination for our riders, but it also improves their self-confidence and encourages them to excel in other areas of life,” said Endlich.


Each year riders are selected to compete in a horse show at the Frederick Fairgrounds during the Great Frederick Fair and to participate in Special Olympics.


One student, Kristofer Schrumpf, was born with Autism and, frustrated with his inability to communicate, suffered emotional outbursts. He also exhibited deficiencies in fine and gross motor skills, making normal sport activities difficult.


As a FC4HTRP student, he learned that he had to control his anger when communicating with horses to get a positive response.  And, he began to accept instructions from teachers and therapists without angry outbursts. Riding horses also improved Kristofer’s hand-eye coordination and balance and he now participates and wins in statewide horse shows.


“He is now a college-bound, honors student at Urbana High School, is president of the Emerging Leaders Club, and speaks fluent German,” said Nancy Schrumpf.  “Our family is most grateful to be part of the FC4HTRP family. We thank them and all the generous supporters from the community for improving the life of our son.”


Volunteers Needed:  To learn more about therapeutic horseback riding or to volunteer visit www.fc4htrp.org


Donations and Rider and Horse Sponsorships keep this program going. To Sponsor a Rider ($500 half-year or $1,000 full-year) or Sponsor a Therapy Horse ($1,000 yearly) please contact Debbie Endlich, FC4HTRP President, at 301-898-3587.


To make a donation, please send checks or money orders to 11515 Angleberger Road, Thurmont, MD 21788.


Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FC4HTRP


About Frederick County 4H Therapeutic Riding Program (FC4HTRP) is a non-profit therapeutic riding program that was established in 1983 to provide horseback riding experiences to physically, emotionally, and mentally disabled Frederick County individuals. FC4HTRP exists only on donations from individuals, businesses, and civic-minded organizations. Donations are tax deductible under IRS Tax Code 501(c)3.