Bonner Leader Tabi Rudzinski 2016 works side by side with her equine friend, Chex, at Sebastian’s Riding Associates. The private organization is on a mission is to improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities through equine therapy.
“At Sebastian Riding, it is truly believed that contact with these horses has an impact on not only physical abilities, but mental health as well,” said Rudzinski, 20, who is leading the on-campus effort to recruit more Ursinus students to volunteer. “One of the program’s challenges would be getting more help. Since they are a non-profit, volunteers like us play a large role in helping them to operate.”
About nine Ursinus students now go to the barn every week, she said, but she hopes more will learn about this rewarding partnership between people and animals. The facility is close to campus, located in nearby Evansburg State Park. No experience with horses is necessary, said Rudzinski, a sophomore Biology major from Riverside, N.J. Some of the Ursinus student volunteers prefer helping in the barn and others like working with Sebastian students who are enrolled to learn to ride, groom, tack and care for the 15 horses on site.
Ursinus students are among more than 100 community volunteers for the program that serves both children and adults a wide range of physical, mental and emotional disabilities. The focus is a safe, fun and healthy approach to growth and rehabilitation through equine activities and riding. They work to achieve physical development, socialization and learning.