Swing For the Kids Golf Tournament To Benefit Jamestown New Horizons

By Sandy Delcoure

At Jamestown New Horizons Riding for the Disabled love is spelled work.  Director, Bonnie Oliver and her husband Oliver Grueninger, have devoted their lives 24/7 to help children with disabilities in the St. Louis Community.  It gives them such satisfaction that they have not taken a vacation in years.

“There is nothing like the sound of the disabled child’s laughter ringing through the fields,” said Oliver Grueninger.  “There is nothing like seeing the happiness in their eyes when they ride,” added Mrs. G, as Bonnie Grueninger is called.  For the thirty years the Grueninger’s Jamestown Stable has been in operation, their emphasis has always been on quality horsemanship.  This emphasis includes quality horsemanship for the special children with disabilities .  The main mission of Jamestown New Horizons is to promote the health and quality of life for children with disabilities through therapeutic horseback riding.

The concept of disabled people riding horses first originated after World War II.  War injured Germans and Englishmen who could not walk rode horses for transportation and rehabilitation.  The effort was so successful that it was implemented throughout all of Europe, a continent known for its traditional emphasis on horsemanship.

In the United States, therapeutic horsemanship is sometimes wrongly viewed as a luxury rather than a basic need and exercise for the disabled.  “People forget the disabled need fun and enjoyment too – something to break the routine of daily living.  Riding gives them enjoyment and lets them experience the fun in life we so often take for granted,” said Bonnie.     The muscles of the body used when walking are also used when riding through the motion and rhythm of the horse’s walk.  The Grueningers said that horseback riding is physically therapeutic because it improves balance, increases strength and decreases tension in the bodies of the disabled children. These are proven benefits that apply to anyone who rides regularly.

Located on 20 acres of rolling hills one-half mile north of Jamestown Mall , JNH is ideally located to serve the needs of  all St. Louis County.  Children participating in JNH experience the refreshment of nature in the wonderful countryside surrounding the JNH stable.  “There is something about a horse’s presence that lets them take the children so much closer to nature and wildlife than if they were on foot,” said Mrs. Grueninger.  “We ride down to the marsh where we watch the frogs jump and where we feed the Canadian geese that stop on their seasonal migrations.”

Her husband added:   “The horses seem to sense that these children are special and instinct tells them what to do to do to help the disabled, child ride.  The horses are what cause the special child to react so positively to this particular sport,” he said.

JNH Board of Directors president, Dave Jones, who is co-chairman of the Swing for the Kids Golf Tournament fundraiser for JNH said,  “JNH has changed our lives; it has made us appreciate life so much more.  It has shown me that disabilities can be overcome, no matter how severe.  I get so much joy watching my daughter, and I know that she is getting top notch instruction at the same time. “

If you would like to help make a difference in the lives of these special, disabled children participate in the JNH Swing for the Kids Golf Tournament on Friday, Sept. 14,  at Crescent Farms Golf Club, 745 Lewis Road in Eureka.  To reserve your space, call 314-741-5816 or download the registration form at JNH-GoneRiding.org.

If you are unable to participate in the golf tournament donations are greatly appreciated.  Send donations to JNH Riding for the Disabled, 15350 Old Jamestown Rd., Florissant, MO, 63034. For more information or to volunteer for JNH call 314-741-5816.

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