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FGCU Students Help Construct Equestrian Sensory Trails April 18
4/17/2009

FORT MYERS, FL - Four students in the College of Health Professions at Florida Gulf Coast University have assisted with the planning and will join other students and volunteers to construct a sensory trail for horseback riders, 8 a.m., Saturday, April 18 at Special Equestrians, 5121 Staley Road in Fort Myers as part of a service-learning project.

Special Equestrians, Inc. is a NARHA (North American Riding Handicapped Association) Premier Accredited therapeutic riding facility located in Fort Myers. The facility serves Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties providing a therapeutic horseback riding program for mentally and physically challenged children and adults.

Students enrolled in IHS 4938 Senior Seminar have been collaborating with Special Equestrian staff and an engineer on its advisory council to design a sensory trail for its riders. The thirteen stations to be constructed will assist riders with motor skills, muscle control, vestibular and visual sense, tactile, visual and proprioception sense, balance and body awareness.

"This is a wonderful service-learning opportunity for the FGCU students to apply what they have learned in their respective health profession majors and to serve a community agency by developing a sensory trail that will be therapeutic for their riders," said assistant professor in Occupational Therapy and Community Health Tina Gelpi.

The students participating in the project are Vanessa Durkin, Maggie Giffin, Gina Straub, and Melissa Whitescarver.

For more information, media representatives should contact Gelpi at (239) 590-7551.

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