Horsepower expands to High Point
Katrina Breitenbach thought she’d never again be able to do the activities she loves.
She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and can hardly walk. But now she spends Wednesday afternoons on horseback.
“There are a lot of things that I used to do that I can’t do anymore,” said Breitenbach, 39. “I used to do ballroom dance — can’t do that anymore. I used to do acting — can’t do that anymore. It’s nice to be able to do something I did before.”
Breitenbach is a rider at Horsepower Therapeutic Learning Center in Colfax. The riding center has been around for 19 years helping children and adults with mental, physical and emotional disabilities feel confident and active again through horseback riding.
“It’s amazing to watch the evolution of riders,” said Jan Clifford, founder and executive director of Horsepower. “Nothing in the world is more exciting than for someone that’s nonverbal to say their first word on a horse. That joy is just a fraction of what riders feel.”
Horsepower is building a second location off of Clinard Farm Road in High Point that will help the center expand its offerings. Currently, Horsepower offers sensory walking, leadership and veteran programs.
“We’ve maxed out here,” she said. “We have limited pastures, limited time, we’re maxed out on the number of horses we have because we are sharing the facility with another entity (Piedmont Saddle Club). We’ve been very creative with what we have here.”
Once Horsepower makes the move to its 48 acres in High Point, which Clifford said should happen in about six months, they will have larger pastures for more horses and the ability to offer more classes to more riders.
“We’re doing more than our capacity here,” Clifford said. “We have about 120 riders a week. We could see up to 300 people at our new facility.”
The new facility will cost the nonprofit about $1.2 million and is divided into phases. Clifford said the center can start having programs at the new site after Phase II is complete, which includes clearing land, seeding and fencing pastures, setting up water and sewage, and putting up run-in sheds and an outdoor arena.
At the new facility, Horsepower also will partner with Phoenix Academy for its equestrian program. The academy will be tapping into three programs from Horsepower — Pony Up, leadership classes and therapeutic classes. Pony Up is a program that teaches students how to focus and how to read using miniature donkeys. Students design and write their own stories.
Clifford said the leadership program is for children with great potential.
“Sometimes, you get children that aren’t being challenged enough, and we are taking them and teaching them leadership skills,” Clifford said. “What better way to learn to lead than on a horse?”
The charter school also will use Horsepower’s therapeutic classes.
Horsepower is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship-certified premiere center which means it is the safest center with the most-educated staff and volunteers. Clifford said the center is always looking for people to volunteer with the center in any capacity.
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