(From left) Garibaldi secondary Level 1 carpentry students: Hunter Jordan

Ridge students give riding association a leg up

Garibali secondary's carpentry class built 12 sets of stairs for the North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association in Maple Ridge

What to do with 12 sets of stairs?

The Garibaldi secondary carpentry instructor had his Level 1 students build a flight of stairs as a learning exercise.

“There are lots of skills kids learn in doing that, both hands-on skills and geometry,” said Christopher Yendall.

The school has all the stairs it needs, however, so this year a dozen flights needed to find homes.

Yendall used to volunteer with the North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association, which provides rides for people with physical, emotional and developmental challenges.

“It’s a great form of physical therapy for kids who are challenged in certain ways,” said Yendall.

He knows that lifts are necessary to help get some clients onto horseback, and sure enough, the organization wanted a set of his stairs, so a client could ascend up to the height of the horse and drop onto the saddle.

They’re perfect, said Yendall.

There’s a railing on one side of the stair cases for the clients to hold onto, and the other side is open to allow for assistance.

“It’s almost like that’s what they were designed for.”

Emily Felgnar, the program coordinator for the riding association, said lifts generally cost money and involve government grant applications. The association has indoor lifts that can accommodate clients who are physically disabled, but the staircases will be used outdoors for the more able-bodied riders.

“It was on our wish list,” said Felgnar. “It’s a nice surprise.”

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