MMI, HETRA partnership isn't just horsing around

September 13, 2018

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The UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute partnered with the Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy (HETRA) this summer to offer an afternoon of fun and education for children with disabilities and their families.

More than 200 individuals participated in the event. Activities included horse grooming, horseshoe crafts, face painting, ice cream truck and dinner.

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Edye Godden, left, executive director of HETRA, introduces the Hobza family to one of the therapeutic riding horses. She explained the different body parts of the horse and the benefits of riding. Noelle Hobza, right, has been riding at HETRA for over 10 years.

Many families who participated said they appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the benefits of equine therapy. HETRA provides physical and occupational therapy for individuals with disabilities and veterans.

Shauna Gosch, who has a child with cerebral palsy said, "I really appreciated the opportunity to see firsthand how this could help my son with his balance and also build some of the core muscles he desperately needs. I got to meet families who had been participating in this therapy and shared the benefits."

MMI's Kim Falk, whose son Ethan has participated in HETRA for over 12 years, was one of the event planners.

"I'm so pleased we were able collaborate with HETRA to host this event. It provided an opportunity for families to learn about HETRA and MMI-two of my favorite places," she said.

Edye Godden, executive director of HETRA, found the event a great collaboration.

"We met a good number of individuals who were not familiar with HETRA, and we exposed them to a lot of different activities with the horses and the facility.

"The MMI staff was awesome to work with, and people had a great time. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the hands-on contact with the horses."