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State Honoree

John Coiner

West Virginia

volunteers with the “Kids in Bits Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program” for children with disabilites. John felt compelled to help when his mother, a certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor, told him that the program could not continue without volunteers. “These children have to go through so much therapy indoors, and they do the same exercises week after week,” said John. “But with horses, it’s fun to ride and good to stretch out their tight muscles,” said John. So, John gave up school sports to dedicate as many as twelve hours weekly to the program. He helps his mother train the horses to accept a wheelchair-bound rider, and he teaches the children how to groom horses and play riding games. John also “sidewalks” the horses while the children are riding, and even cleans the horses’ stalls. He has involved his 4-H club, and helped the club raise nearly $5,000 to purchase equipment. John, who heard an autistic boy speak for the very first time while riding a horse, said, “What you give to someone you always get back good things in return.”