In 1976, Margaret Dunlap, who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, began working with riding instructor Debra Powell. Over time, Dunlap realized that horseback riding seemed to ameliorate the effects of the disease. She joined forces with Powell to form a therapeutic horseback-riding program in the community. Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center has come a long way since then, expanding from 5 to 250 riders, who participate in hippotherapy and adaptive-riding sessions each week.
Working with horses helps riders with disabilities gain muscle strength, prevent bone weakness, and improve balance and hand-eye coordination. Riding also offers a fun outdoor activity and an opportunity to socialize with other participants. Set on 4.5 acres of rural land, the Little Bit facility houses 19 program horses in a 20-stall barn. Horse and rider meet once a week to navigate nearby trails, providing people with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities a chance to exercise and bond with the animals.