My name is Derek. I have been a rider at Centaur Stride since 1994. I presently ride once a week, year round, and hold the record for the most lessons at Centaur Stride.
I use a wheelchair for my daily activities, so riding the horse is really the only time, other than sleeping, that I am not in my wheelchair. In addition to the fun and friends I have at Centaur Stride, riding helps me exercise my body. The staff and volunteers have games and challenges for me so I don’t even realize how hard I’m working. I really know it has helped me a lot. When I first started riding, I needed a lot of help and couldn’t even go outside of the ring because I couldn’t keep my balance. I was wearing a full back brace. Now I only use a soft back support, and I can go on the trails in nice weather, and it isn’t too hard for my sidewalkers. It also keeps my hips and legs stretched out. I haven’t had to have any hip surgery to release my muscles. The horse does that!
Centaur Stride is a very special place. My mom and dad started an Endowment Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (Animals for the Disabled Fund) to benefit Centaur Stride and to ensure that Centaur Stride would always be here for people like me that can never get enough therapy, and rarely have activities that can also help them physically.
Please visit the website at www.centaurstride.org. My family helps Centaur Stride a lot, especially with their many fundraisers. The walk-a-thon is something I can do to help too. I hope you will sponsor me to benefit the riding program. The photo is a photo of a past walk-a-thon photo with my grandpa McCullor. It was fun and a great success. Thanks! Derek