Equestrian Club That Helps Special Needs Children Raises Money to Stay Open

OROVILLE, Calif. - An equestrian organization in Butte County is helping disabled young people regain their strength and confidence by riding horses but money is in short supply.

The Handi-Riders Organization in Oroville has been helping both kids and adults with special needs for the past 33 years.

For young girls like 10-year-old Olivia Mead riding a horse means the world.

"I really like to ride but I like to do the vaulting which I can do a lot of," said Mead.

The disability would likely have prevented Olivia from doing what she loves but her mother found Handi-Riders in Oroville with a Google search and discovered that they would help Olivia ride.

 "It has really strengthened her in way that no other physical training can do," said Cameo Mead, Olivia's mother.

Mead was diagnosed at birth with a rare disorder called Sturge-Weber syndrome, a disorder which makes the body weak and can cause things like seizures and glaucoma.

"She has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, learning challenges and epilepsy," said Cameo Mead.

Handi-Riders gives children the chance to get on a horse and escape the world for a while.

"It's a really great program we have out here. I see the improvements in all of the kids and adults out here," said Manager of Handi-Riders Grace Dwyer.

The Handi-Riders instructors put their students through a bunch of exercises which help them regain their strength so they can do other things they love.

"It helps her core strength so she's able to walk, run with confidence without tripping or falling and we are hoping we can get her to the point where she can ride a bicycle," said Cameo Mead.

In order to make that happen, the Handi-Riders organization needs financial help to stay open.

The United Bikers of Northern California got word of this and decided to help raise money for the organization by getting sponsors for a camp out they will be having in Red Bluff next month.

A camp out they hope will make Mead's dream of becoming a professional horse rider come true.

The camp out is called "Put a Smile on Your Face" and it'll be held at Discovery Field on June 8 and 9.

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