Local organization gives blind and deaf students opportunity to ride horses

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- Imagine riding a horse without being able to see or hear.

That’s what blind and deaf students did at New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding in Bowling Green.

8 students ranging from age 14 to 22 are participating in the Kentucky Deaf Blind Project. Georgia Bell is one of the students participating in the project. She’s 17 years old and from Williamsburg, Kentucky. Bell has Cerebral Palsy.

“It effects my ability to walk so I’m in the wheelchair, and it helps me get around,” said Bell.

Having Cerebral Palsy also means that Bell has impaired hearing and sight.

“I am deaf. I had surgery on my left I when I was a baby, when I was 24 weeks old. I was born prematurely.”

It isn’t Bell’s first time riding a horse, and she doesn’t find it too difficult.

“It might be, but I don’t think so. I just like to get on and ride. This will be my third time riding a horse. I’m looking forward to it.”

For the organizer of the event it’s a way to teach both the students and others about the range of capabilities that those who are disabled have.

“When we came here and worked with New Beginnings, the nice thing was they said we’re going to blind fold ourselves and cover our ears to see what it’s like, before we have the students come here. So, they’re the ones that are really adapting a lot of things here,” said Donna Carpenter state coordinator at Kentucky Deaf Blind Project.

Each year the project takes students through a week of vocational activities as students prepare for adult life.