The 16,000-square-foot Storm Harbor facility will open this fall.
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -- Ever seen the look of excitement on a child's face when she rides a horse for the first time?
Ever wonder what becomes of horses after they pass their prime?
To make childhood dreams come true, especially for children with disabilities, Slippery Rock University seeks donations of older geldings and mares to offer riding lessons at the new Storm Harbor Equestrian Center.
Horses will be used to teach basic riding to children and adults who don't normally get riding opportunities. Put a child with cerebral palsy, blindness or Down syndrome on a horse, and he gains a better sense of balance and awareness of his muscles, increasing self-esteem, says SRU's Nancy Banner, exercise science instructor and coordinator of equestrian education.
Horses should be sound, but older and calm with a gentle personality, she said. Their use will be carefully monitored and nondemanding, with veterinary care provided. Those interested in donating an animal should call (724) 738-4924.
The 16,000-square-foot Storm Harbor facility opens this fall, occupying land near N. Kerr Thompson Stadium. The building includes 12 horse stalls, an indoor riding arena, a fenced riding area outside, offices, a kitchen and restrooms.
Storm Harbor will also support SRU's equestrian team.
The project was initiated with $380,000 in donations, including substantial gifts from the late Ethel Carruth of Houston, Texas; her daughter, Dr. Carolyn Carruth-Rizza; and son-in-law, Dr. Paul Rizza, both retired SRU faculty. Carolyn Carruth-Rizza is chair of the Storm Harbor Advisory Board and a project consultant. Storm Harbor is the name of her show horse.