Equine activities can develop self-awareness, build self-confidence and improve concentration and self-discipline. Horses give a disabled person a feeling of freedom and independence. When seated on a horse, the rider is gently and rhythmically moved in a manner that is similar to human walking.
Emma had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at nine months old. She started receiving therapy through Child Find. Twice a week, her therapist would come to do activities with her. She learned to crawl, then walk, but was becoming shy and, even though she loved her therapists, she didn't want to do the repetitive activities that would strengthen her core. Her parents were at a loss. How to help their shy girl get stronger? When Emma was three, she started at RIDE. This little girl wouldn't even ride a bike. What would she think of a horse? Her parents were amazed at how quickly she took to her first pony, Moonshine! She LOVED coming to RIDE, and even though she was tired afterwards, she always wanted to go again. Emma's confidence and core strength grew exponentially during the summer, and she quickly graduated from riding ponies to horses. By the time she was five, she was showing such an improvement in her coordination that she jumped on her bike and rode it BY HERSELF! Not only did Emma's core strength grow, but her confidence in herself to try new things was beyond their wildest expectations. Emma is now 11, and she still goes to RIDE. She rides Rio now, a beautiful thoroughbred, and to see the connection between the two of them is magical. When Emma faces challenges now, she remembers the lessons of RIDE: patience, honesty, courage, and friendship, and she is not afraid to try. We are proud this program gives this experience to so many other Emma's, both young and old. -Scott and Darlane Evans, Emma's parents
For those of you who do not know Dee and Poke (yes, that is his actual name) Stiers and their immediate family, Stephanie Stiers Hinkley and grandchildren, let me just tell you from the outside looking in what I see. This family gives their hearts and souls to this non-profit. The love of the kids, horses and adults that need a special moment of discovery. I don't know how they do it! They all work full-time jobs in education, and still find the time to make this all come together for all who come. This family has the energy and compassion of many. -Lori Mitchell