Manna’s Hana Riding Center has a new addition to its center: a mechanical horse.
Students of Tennessee Tech’s Mechanical Engineering program designed and engineered the horse. Manna Hana Executive Director Bobbie Abell said using a mechanical horse is instrumental in assessing students’ riding abilities. Abell said it was a passion project for both the students and the center.
“Because one of the Tennessee Tech students had someone with special needs, they understood more of what we were looking for because we work with individuals with special needs,” Abell said. “They had a vested interest in helping us achieve what our goal was for the horse.”
The horse will also serve students who are unable to ride a real horse.
Abell said Tech originally helped the riding center with a model in 2011, but it broke a few years ago.
“We had a 55-gallon barrel and so the students actually came and took our barrel and the specs we had from another riding center, and built our first,” Abell said. “Unfortunately, we had someone sit on it that broke it, so here we had it sat on our outside deck unable to move.”
The new horse is sleeker and lighter model. The weight of the original model was 200 pounds, and the new model, named HANA Mark II, comes in at half the weight.