Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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May 21, 2013

Rose-Hulman brings technology to Hope Haven

COATESVILLE — There was a special celebration in the southeast corner of Hendricks County earlier this week as the staff at Hope Haven Horse Farm showed off some new therapy equipment designed and created by students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Hope Haven is a therapeutic horse farm founded and directed by Christina Menke. She said the project completed by the students will “help revolutionize the use of equine therapy.”

Rose-Hulman students completed three projects with the help of the Hope Haven staff – New Therapeutic Saddle, The Stable-izer, and the iHorse Simulator.

The Stable-izer is a device that detects when a horse rider is leaning away from the vertical position and sounds an alert when the rider needs assistants or needs to correct their posture. Lights in a pair of connected sun glasses also show the rider which way to move. This project was completed by Creasy Clauser of Crawfordsville, Alex Schwier of Lawrenceburg, and Tanya Colonna of Broadview Heights, Ohio.

The iHorse Simulator simulates the hip motion and core muscle activity experienced when a person rides a horse.  The project helps therapeutic riders warm up and gain strength. It also requires fewer people to help the rider experience the walk of a horse. This project was created by Melissa Montgomery of Alexandrea, Nicole Richardson of Janesville, Wis., and Jaqueline Simon of LaGrange.

The third project completed was the New Therapeutic Saddle. The custom-made saddle provides back, hand, and leg support for riders participating in equine-assisted therapy. This project was completed by Candice Sandberg of Plainfield, Peter Moorman of Munster, and Michael Boyer of Richmond.

Sandberg graduated from Plainfield High School in 2009 and is getting ready to graduate from Rose-Hulman. She is the daughter of Michael Sandberg and Rae Jean LeCompte.

“The saddle helps the rider to sit up straight,” Sandberg explained. “Traditionally, they have had to have volunteers hold them up in place. This way they will not need as many volunteers.”

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