October 16, 2001
By: Mary Field
When people think of appropriate physical activities for physically or mentally handicapped children, horseback riding is not usually what comes to mind.
Imagine a child who can not walk without assistance or with no sight controlling a thousand pound animal.
At Ken and Katie Geske's Double K Acres farm in the Town of Kinnickinnic that is exactly what is happening every Monday night this fall.
The Geskes are running Therapeutic Riding Program that is certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). The program gives kids with disabilities the chance to get physical and emotional therapy and have fun doing it. The program can help children and adults alike with a variety of disabilities like Cerebral Palsy, Attention Defect Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), multiple sclerosis, stroke, autism, learning or language disabilities, even blindness.
"A lot of times handicapped kids have to watch while their brothers and sisters are out playing baseball or soccer," Ken Geske said. "With this program all of a sudden they can get out of their wheelchair or off their crutches and ride a horse in a fun environment - this is just a fun thing for them to do."
The Geskes have a lot of experience working with people with disabilities. Ken has been the Aquatic Director of the therapeutic swimming program at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn. for almost 26 years. Katy, who does in home daycare, has worked as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with at background in mental health at Abbott Northwestern as well.
For the complete story on the Geskes and their program see this week's River Falls Journal.
©River Falls Journal 2001