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Columbia Gas donates to riding facility

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio -- The Ohio University Center for Therapeutic Riding at the Ohio Horse Park has been given a $5,000 grant from Columbia Gas of Kentucky to continue its mission of healing.

A growing number of participants, including injured soldiers, are benefiting from therapy at the center. Horseback riding helps improve balance and provides physical strengthening to patients. Interacting with the horses also has a calming effect, which can help a variety of patients with different needs, according to a news release from Columbia Gas.

The grant is to improve the riding facilities at the Ohio Horse Park, where the Ohio University Center for Therapeutic Riding provides horseback riding and equine-assisted activities for children and adults with physical, emotional, and developmental challenges. The Center utilizes students and volunteers to work with specially trained horses to offer a variety of services to their clients.

"This grant was such a welcome gift as we were starting to put participants on waiting lists due to lack of equipment and additional riding space," Kelly Hall, director of Equine Studies and the Ohio Horse Park Center for Therapeutic Riding, said in the release. "With the addition of veterans, new needs arose due to their unique challenges and this grant will help us meet those needs. Because of the support from Columbia Gas, our program can provide this beneficial interaction with horses to even more people in the tri-state community."

The organization was nominated for this grant by the Columbia Gas of Kentucky/Ironton Inclusion & Diversity Council, a group of employee volunteers from Columbia Gas of Kentucky and Columbia Gas of Ohio in Ironton. The group visited the facility during the summer of 2012 and was impressed by the positive impact therapeutic riding can have on participants.

"Seeing this facility first-hand was very eye-opening," Columbia Gas of Kentucky President Herbert A. Miller Jr. said in the release. "We are pleased to support the work done by the staff and volunteers and to help more people benefit from the therapeutic services offered at this facility."