Allied Horsemanship, Inc. was started by Shannon Gher in 2017. Shannon wanted to share her love of horses and empower others with disabilities to improve their lives through interactions with horses. Allied Horsemanship, Inc. is a PATH International Center. Shannon Gher is a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor with PATH International and she has a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with an equine emphasis.
The desire to work with disabilities on horseback started with a high school english paper. Shannon discovered Hippo-therapy which is where horses are used as a form of therapy with a doctor. While in college at UW-River Falls, the opportunity to become certified and receive college credit for it came about. Shannon started her journey under Ken Gisk of Walk On. Ken and his wife started Walk On in 2011 with big dreams of working with UWRF in the future. Shannon had the pleasure to be apart of the very first class of PATH Instructors-In-Training at UWRF. Lots of lessons learned along the way.
Shannon finished her instructorship during the summer between semesters with Thunder Rode, Inc. in Decorah, IA under Michelle McLein-Kruse. This was the start of a great partnership. Michelle encouraged Shannon to start her own program in Wisconsin as she had all she needed in support. So, January of 2017 Allied Horsemanship, Inc. was born.
Things were off to a rocky start with the loss of a very deer friend of Shannon’s in January of 2017. As Shannon and Elizabeth Dennis-Brownly were partners in crime growing up through 4-H their friend ship continued. Elizabeth was going to join Shannon in this journey. Shannon and Bill Gher were married later in June of 2017. Allied Horsemanship started with its first lesson July of 2017. Despite the challenges Allied Horsemanship grew.
Shannon would not have made this possible with out the continued support from her family, especially her mother Dawn Adkins. Dawn continues to work as Shannon’s right hand and has decided to become a PATH Instructor as well.
Elizabeth’s passing brought the Adkins and Dennis family closer. Elizabeth’s parents built an indoor riding arena in her honor: curlEy Deva Magic arena. Her initials are the only capital letters in the name. The addition of the arena has allowed Allied Horsemanship to expand to two locations. The arena is being developed to become a classroom site for Allied and a long term home.
Shannon is next on a journey to add new instructors, grow the volunteers and participants, and set Allied Horsemanship, Inc. to be sustainable for a long time. With her husband, Bill and her family support, all will be achieved in due time.