Challenged Champions Equestrian Center

11913 County Road 6, Ottawa, OH

Website

419-456-3449

MISSION & VALUES
The mission of the Challenged Champions Equestrian Center, Inc. is to support people with special needs, from early childhood through adult-hood.  Opportunities are provided through horseback riding and other horse related activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental development. Challenged Champions is a cooperative effort of dedicated individuals that includes trained personnel and community volunteers. Our vision is to enrich and change the lives of children and adults with disabilities through the extraordinary benefits of therapeutic riding and related equine assisted activites.  The horses are the bridge between the participants and their needs, creating a common bond upon which they can build and overcome.

HISTORY

Challenged Champions Equestrian Center was established in 1997 as a non-profit charitable corporation.  Using the horse and its environment, we provide equine assisted activities for people with a variety of special needs.
According to the ADA-Ohio 2000 census statistics show that 1 in 5 residents in the United States have some sort of disability.
The use of Equine has been proven effective as recreational therapy for various disabilities including but not limited to:
Cerebral Palsy
Autism
Mental Retardation
Down Syndrome
Muscular Dystrophy
Paralysis
Brain Injuries
Multiple Sclerosis
Learning Disabilities
Spina Bifida
Sight Impairment
Hearing Impairment
Developmental delay
Emotional Disabilites
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Riding is particularly beneficial for students with impaired motor function.  The movement of the horse both relaxes and stimulates unused muscles, building muscle tone and improving coordination and balance. In the first few years of establishing the program we were able to use the facilities of Putnam County fairgrounds and also the University of Findlay’s equestrian facility. This allowed us to serve up to 25 participants the first two years. Since 1997 we have had very steady growth, in 1999 Rising River Quarter Horses facility became the home of Challenged Champions.   This allowed us to serve as many as 70 clients a year and also provided  a positive outlook for possible donors and fundraisers. In 2001, Challenged Champions Equestrian Center became a Premier Accredited Center with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), which has since changed their name to PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl.) Just as other professions use accreditation and licensing systems to improve the well-being of their industries, therapeutic equine professionals have a distinction of their own.

In 2007 the facility was severely devastated by an August flood.   Since much cleanup work was needed to get the facility back in working order some expansions were also needed to accommodate the increase in participants.  With help from community volunteers the results of the flood were soon behind us and we were able to add a restroom, outdoor arena, and large classroom with viewing area.

These additions have allowed us to expand in so many directions.  Being able to provide classes  year around  4-5 day per week.   The classroom has become a multi-purpose room allowing all types of social groups to hold their functions, what an opportunity for us to show off our program.

Since the beginning in 1997 we are now serving close to 200 students per year. Our horses giving over 2500 rides per year , and have expanded our services to include but not limited to Girl Scout, Boy Scouts, County school systems, Senior citizens, Service groups, County Probation Youth and many more.

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