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Wood County woman invents equipment for equestrians with special needs

Sara Yarger says she combined her two passions - people and horses - to develop the horse halter that makes it easier for people with limited mobility to ride.

WESTON, Ohio — Sara Yarger started riding and showing horses at a young age. She then competed at the collegiate level at Bowling Green State University. 

"My mom just swears I was born loving horses," Yarger said.

Yarger also found a love of working with people with disabilities and majored in special education. 

"For one of our classes, we had to make a product that was going to make something more accessible," the Wood County woman said.

Her mind immediately went to horses.

"It's just combining two passions: Helping people and being with horses," Yarger said. "Working with people with disabilities, they don't always have the finest of motor skills. So I was like, 'We need to find something to make harnessing easier.'"

She invented a new type of horse halter, which is used sort of like a collar for a dog, to handle the horse from the ground. It's called the Magna Halter and is designed for riders with fine-motor deficiencies or disabilities so that they can halter their equines independently.

Credit: Dyna Media

"Instead of having a snap that's typically here, we have a magnet and metal bracket. We take that magnet and bring it over and slide it in," Yarger explained.

She said it's about one and half times faster than a traditional halter and said it's also good for working with horses in the cold. 

Yarger continued to work on the product after graduation in her job as an intervention specialist at Ohio Virtual Academy and is now showing the halter at trade shows. 

"One of our other biggest supporters is Heather Smith. She's actually a world para reigner and she's been huge in helping us develop this product as a person with a disability," Yarger said.

She is hoping to get the halter in brick-and-mortar stores soon. Her Magna Halter website shows a portion of proceeds go to various para-equestrian organizations. 

"Being able to have someone comment to me, 'Yes, I can actually halter my horse on my own now,' or 'Yes, this is so cool.' That makes it all worth it," Yarger said.