Stoney River Seniors Take Life by the Reins!

Stoney River Ramsey assisted living and memory support residents experienced the exhilarating and healing benefits of horseback riding last week when River Valley Riders offered therapeutic riding to seniors for the first time.  

Aware of the physical and emotional benefits of horseback riding, Stoney River’s care team organized the equine therapy adventure for residents—including a 92-year-old rider!   

“Many older adults dealing with aging bodies and health challenges tend to focus on what they can no longer do, and we like to show our residents what’s still possible,” said Stoney River Lifestyle Specialist Michelle Champagne. “Residents were surprised that they could safely and easily ride horses. The response was amazing.” 

Miriam Duerr, age 87, rode horses years ago on her family farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, and said she was thrilled to relive the experience riding a horse named April. Longtime fan of horse racing, Dewey Moore, age 79, who has watched the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in person got the chance of a lifetime to trade his seat on the sidelines for one in the saddle when he rode Tanner. 

“The horse was so gentle, strong and very big!” said Jim Wehr, a newbie rider at age 92, who enjoyed his first-time experience with Arvid. 

In other firsts, Cheryl Hold, a board officer and instructor with River Valley Riders, said, “This was our first opportunity to make equine therapy available to seniors.” Thanks to handpicked horses with good dispositions and about 200 well-trained volunteers, horseback riders of any age and ability—even those with disabilities—can experience the joy and benefits of equine therapy.  

While horseback riding offers physical benefits such as improved balance, flexibility, strength and coordination, the Stoney River riders agreed that the greatest benefit of all was the thrill of the ride!  Considering the positive feedback, Stoney River will offer the horseback riding experience again and looks forward to even greater resident participation. 

Stoney River Ramsey’s assisted living and memory care residents enjoy private apartment homes with access to a host of community amenities and services and to professional operator Pathway to Living’s award-winning VIVA! lifestyle that inspires joy and fosters purpose. For more information, visit or call 612-615-9936.