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White Oaks finds new home

Therapeutic horseback-riding classes start April 29 at new location

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

MORRISON – White Oaks Therapeutic Equestrian Center has moved to Morrison.

The nonprofit organization, founded in 1995, offers therapeutic horseback riding and animal-assisted activities for children and adults with disabilities.

White Oaks for the last couple of years offered its services out of Double G Arena west of Sterling. But the organization sought a more central location to its clientele, which hail from Whiteside and Carroll counties and from Clinton County, Iowa, Executive Director Kiley Vanderleest said Thursday.

Harold and Mary Scuffham offered their farm at 12433 Prairie Center Road, just west of Morrison. The property has small indoor and outdoor riding arenas, stalls and plenty of pasture, Vanderleest said.

The couple has two horses of their own, she added.

The organization has six horses at the new facility, one it owns and five it leases from others, Vanderleest said.

White Oaks serves 25 to 30 clients of all ages with varying disabilities, from autism and Down syndrome to cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. The program offers lessons in three 6-week sessions, one each in the spring, summer and fall.

Lessons include therapeutic riding in addition to basic instruction in grooming, tacking and horsemanship.

The first session of the year begins April 29.

White Oaks always is looking for volunteers and offers two volunteer training sessions, one from 9 a.m. to noon April 13 and one from 5 to 8 p.m. April 17, at the new facility.

The organization, in part funded by the United Way of Whiteside County, also always is in need of donations, including money to sponsor riders or items to help the program, such as tack or horse care supplies.

For more information about the program, to register for classes, become a volunteer or make a donation, go to www.whiteoakscenter.org or call 815-772-2669.

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