The Shane Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship’s relies heavily on the many volunteers who dedicate their time helping from week to week. In addition to the volunteers, The Shane Center welcomed three new interns for the spring and summer session! Katie Luciano, Ian Coburn and Krystina Carter are all students at The Ohio State University and are in the process of completing their undergraduate degrees in Animal Science.
The Animal Science program at OSU requires students to complete 200 hours at a pre-approved internship of their choice. The goal of the internship is to explore potential career opportunities after graduation. All three of our interns had no previous experience in equine assisted therapy and decided to join The Shane Center in order to learn more about it. So far, the interns have helped write grants, plan the annual open house, write thank you letters, assist in lessons, help with barn work and learn about the daily operations at The Shane Center. Before beginning in the spring, all three interns met with Karen to discuss their goals and what they hoped during their time interning at The Shane Center. Ian wanted to learn more about how non-profit organizations are run and to improve his horse handling skills. Krystina hoped to learn more about running a business because she plans to own an animal rescue when she is done with college. Katie wanted to learn more about equine assisted therapy and what kinds of activities the participants do with the horses. She feels there is a lot to learn and wanted to expand her general knowledge in the field.
In addition to the interns goals, they have come to find that they learned a lot more about therapeutic riding than originally expected. Each intern has a set weekly schedule and because of this, they formed bonds with the students they worked with on a week to week basis. To pinpoint one memorable moment during their time as interns is close to impossible because they have seen remarkable improvements in all of the students during their short time here. All of the horses are special in their own way and react to each student in their own way. One horse specifically, Stevie, has an amazing ability when it comes to the students he encounters during his lessons. Students with high amounts of energy suddenly become calmer and more attentive to what they are doing when he is around. Each of the interns has witnessed firsthand how amazing the transformation is. Each week they get the know the students and their personalities better. They see improvements and stronger bonds being formed between man and horse. For many of the students, horseback riding is the highlight of their week. Seeing smiles on their faces and genuine joy in their lives gives us joy as well.
Overall, the Spring and Summer riding sessions have been a great success and we The Shane Center can’t thank the volunteers and interns enough for all that they do and hope to provide a great learning experience for our current interns and any interns we may have in the future!
Written by Katie Luciano