Bobbie Abell is the founder and Executive Director of Manna’s Hana Riding Center which opened in 2011 for children with special physical, mental or emotional needs. She went to ETSU with a double major in Special Education and Psychology. Her passion of horses began at an early age. When she and her husband retired to Tennessee from Florida, all they wanted to do was farm and ride their horses. One Sunday, Bobbie witnessed a miracle when she saw a four-year-old take his first steps after riding a pony the day before. That’s when the dream started. Having horse experience and a special love for children with special needs, Bobbie set out to find out what it would take to be able to offer riding to special children. When a student comes out to the farm, Bobbie interviews the family to see what they want to achieve and then set a plan into action to get them to where they want to be. The students learn how to care for and ride a horse and play games during their lessons. It’s not just coming out for pony rides. The students are having fun riding and don’t realize they’re actually working those muscles and the eye-hand coordination. They’re working on gross motor skills, fine motor skills, concentration and sequencing. The program also touches the lives of the volunteers. They’re the children’s biggest cheerleaders.
Offer Riding To Special Children