By David Fleet
Horses can sometimes be intimidating—especially if you’re a first time rider with a disability or special need the challenge of getting in the saddle is often daunting.
Noah Hansz recognized a need to help and get a leg up.
Hansz, 16, a Hadley Township resident and a Life Scout from Grand Blanc Troop 215 recently completed a project to obtain his Eagle Scout distinction at Atlas Township based Equine Escape. Through Equine Assisted Learning, or EAL, people of all walks of life can receive benefit from the interaction between the individual or group and the equine. EAL assists with psychological and physical challenges often beneficial in the treatment to those afflicted with a variety of mental health issues.
“I could see that some of the special needs kids had difficulty getting up on horses,” said Hansz, a volunteer at Equine Escape. “So I decided to build a ramp to give some of the special needs kids who work hard getting up on horses.”
The mounting ramp and block is higher so riders get in the saddle easier.
The horse is led up along side the block where the rider just walks up and gets on.
A homeschooled high school sophomore Hansz, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age who benefited from EAL earlier this—now volunteers during the week at Equine Escape.
“The ramp gets the riders up higher so it’s easier to get on the horse,” he said.
Hansz created a plan for the project in September and funds were raised from several local businesses. Then earlier this month a Hansz led a group of about 15 volunteers to construct the deck.
Hansz first joined as a Tiger Scout in first grade and enjoys the projects, trips and comradry.
“It’s been awesome,” he added. “I really enjoy the other scouts and am looking forward to the completion of my Eagle Scout project.”
The next step for Hansz will the scout board of review and approval from the Boy Scout of America National Council. The court of honor for the Eagle Scout distinction is expected early next year.
Hansz project received support from many local businesses: ND Industries, Oxford Bank, Carter Lumber, TSC, Brown’s Do It Center,Family Farm and Home, John’s Pizzeria & American Bistro, PaPa’s Pizza, Bueche’s Food World and Smokin J’s BBQ Pit.