TROY - Recently, I found a quote from Winston Churchill.

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man," Churchill is quoted as saying.

It's an observation that I'm sure wouldn't be lost on anyone at Rainbow Riders in Troy, which has a horseback riding program for the handicapped.

Barn manager Lainey McBratney of Troy, who is also the volunteer coordinator and a board member at Rainbow Riders, said horseback riding benefits the handicapped on physical, emotional, and mental levels.

"It hits everything," she said.

She noted how horseback riding can help someone confined to a wheelchair.

"A horse's movement is very similar to a human walking gait," she said. "They (the riders) are getting that physical movement that they can't do themselves."

In addition, handicapped people who take part in the program can build their confidence, she noted.

"It's pretty amazing to see," she commented.

Lainey said horseback riding can also increase the concentration and patience of someone with a mental disability. Those suffering from an emotional disability can benefit from their relationship to the horses, which she pointed out are non-judgmental, loving creatures.

"Some people just like to sit on the horses," she said.

The non-profit organization's handicapped riding program, however, needs volunteers, and Rainbow Riders will be holding its annual Volunteer Training Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Rainbow Riders Ranch on Chestnut Street in Troy. Lunch will be provided.

"If you love horses and helping others, come see what the program is all about," Rainbow Riders said in a news release. "Learn the benefits of horseback riding and animal-assisted activities. Volunteers are needed in all aspects of the program."

Lainey said volunteers taking part in the handicapped riding program can perform such tasks as leading the horses while people ride, walking next to the riders for safety and support, and grooming the horses.

"Horse experience isn't necessary," she said. "It's a plus, but it isn't necessary. That's why we have a training day ever year."

Volunteers can also help out with fundraising for Rainbow Riders, which relies on grants and community service.

For more information about the volunteer training day, call (570) 297-0903 or (570) 529-1343.

In addition, Rainbow Riders has a farm program in conjunction with Martha Lloyd Community Services in Troy. Some of the clients from Martha Lloyd also take part in the handicapped riding program.

In the farm program, the Martha Lloyd clients get to take part in a variety of farm activities, such as feeding the horses and other animals, grooming the horses, or just spending time at the Rainbow Riders farm.

She said the clients from Martha Lloyd learn how to care for the animals and also get fresh air as a result of participating in the farm program. They come to the farm every evening, from Monday through Thursday.

"There are just so many benefits," Lainey said. "Taking care of an animal is therapeutic in itself."

Rainbow Riders has been "sharing the love and joy of horses with people with disabilities" since 1984.

Do you have an idea for the Western Bradford Notebook? You can reach Eric Hrin at (570) 297-5251; email: reviewtroy@thedailyreivew.com.