"Connecting the Healing Power of the Horse with the Needs of the Community"
Our pilot program began in 2012 with founding members Joan Heinz and Carol Sitlington. It had such a success and rewarding outcome that Freedom Hooves came to be in November of 2013. Since then we have served on average 40 participants a year ranging in ages from 3 to adult. Freedom Hooves offers 6 distinct programs to community members. We have also had an average of 75 volunteers most of which are returning from year to year.
Matt's Freedom Hooves Experience
"This letter is in regards to Matt's Freedom Hooves experience. Matt is an individual that was born blind and has problems expressing himself to the people around him. The only way to know if Matt is happy or sad is to look at the expression(s) on his face. When Matt is brought to Freedom Hooves to ride a horse for the afternoon, people around him know that he is very happy but the smile that extends from ear to ear.
Matt has learned to ride a horse for the excellent teachers around him at Freedom Hooves. He knows how to direct a horse that he is riding by giving the horse verbal prompts and by pulling the reins in the proper way so that the horse obeys him. With supervision and guidance, Matt can lead a horse around an arena effortlessly.
Matt enjoys talking to the horse that her rides by calling them by their names. He will say things such as, "Thank you, Cisco, that was fun", and "Cisco, you feel beautiful". He will inform his peers and family about the horse's name and talk about his horse ride for weeks after riding.
When watching Matt ride his chosen horse, with a huge smile, it's an easy assumption to know that Freedom Hooves provides and excellent outdoor activity outlet for Matt. Freedom Hooves brings light to Matt's day whenever he has (the) chance to be a part of these experiences. People, who know Matt, understand that Matt always looks forward to Freedom Hooves, Freedom Hooves creates awesome experiences for individual like Matt."
"I have had back (problems) and unable to stand up for more than two minutes. I use a rolator to move around a store. I heard of this program from the newspaper. I was also afraid of riding a horse. But with the help of their staff, it was easy to get on and off. It was exhilarating to ride and I was over joyed to have ridden. My fear of riding has vanished."
"My seven year old daughter has been able to do one session with Freedom Hooves, so far, and she loves it. She has mild mental disabilities that affect her intellect as well as her motor skills. Working with those horses gets her talking, learning new words, and using her muscles to take care of and get the animals moving around. We are anxious for her to be able to continue her sessions with Freedom Hooves so she can continue to progress faster in these areas doing something that builds her confidence and skill set and that she loves."
"I was around horses as a young child, but since then I had forgotten the joy of riding. Freedom Hooves has brought back my love for horses. Being around them is a wonderful experience, all thank to you. I was always terrified of riding faster than a walk, but now I can confidently ride at a full gallop. You have touched the lives of thousands, and I am just one of many who thanks you for this amazing opportunity."