TESTIMONIALS FROM OUR AMAZING RIDERS AND PARENTS


As you all know, the team at RideAbility are true believers in the magical healing powers of horses —they heal us, both physically and emotionally, and guide us through some of the most happy & most scary moments in life. We wanted to share one amazing story with you to show how horses can truly help in the healing process.
We have a 15-year old rider, Tony, at the center who has struggled immensely since Covid-19 hit in March 2020. He’s been unable to leave his home for the past five months for fear of contracting the virus. After months of trying different types of therapies, encouragement, support & tactics, we decided to bring his two favorite horses—Cowboy & Cody—directly to his front door! And we documented it— not knowing what the outcome would be in hopes that it was a success. We want to make sure you understand this is not about us it’s about our horses. We wanted our friends and family and YES even those across the globe —to see first-hand the benefits of therapeutic riding and the true bond formed between our beloved riders and horses.
We hope and pray that Tony’s story will inspire other families to learn about therapeutic riding for incredible kids with special abilities. We are so proud of Tony for trusting our horses to help begin his healing and start to enjoy the everyday simplicities of life. We hope you enjoy this too. Feeling blessed today. Thank you Dee and Theo for allowing us this incredible honor to help Tony. Thank you Jonah for creating this story for the world to understand.


https://www.facebook.com/RideabilitySC/videos/959866927791504/


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The RideAbility Program has been a wonderful experience for my child, Breigh.  With the dedicated commitment and persistent work of Wendy and her staff, Breigh continues to make great improvements in her goals.  The developmental levels, love and consistency which are ingrained in the program, have given Breigh the opportunity to develop her core strength and riding ability while enjoying the interaction with the staff and her favorite four legged friend, Dandy.  From our first meeting with Wendy and her staff, and throughout all Breigh’s lessons, we have been totally impressed with the knowledge, passion, love and commitment that everyone at RideAbility has shown for Breigh and our family.  Breigh really loves her time at RideAbility and we feel so fortunate that she has the opportunity to be involved in such a special program. Our family looks forward to Breigh’s continued  success of her established goals for many years to come.

Crystal Swanger

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My seventeen year-old son has been riding at Rideability for 3 years now.  In his time there he has learned about riding and horse care, but he has also learned even more important skills like patience and direction-following.  My son loves seeing the horses and going for a fun ride, but what he really cares about at the barn is his personal relationships with the wonderful staff there.  He loves hugging and shaking hands with everyone and particularly looks forward to his time with Miss Wendy.  When I hear him talk about Wendy, Dakota, Cynthia and others when we haven't seen them in weeks, I realize how much these folks mean to my son.  Sometimes living with Autism Spectrum Disorder can make a person's world feel small.  Rideability has managed to open a door that makes our world that much bigger, and we're grateful for it."
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Rideability has given my daughter so much confidence.  Since she has being going there her behavior has improved tremendously.  This is one of her favorite places ever; she is looking forward every week to go to her lesson.  Thanks to an amazing team of selfless trainers and volunteers who offer their time and love to special needs people and make them feel really special. 

The McCollum Family.
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My son has been attending RideAbility since March of 2017. Hard to believe how fast that time has gone by!! He has definitely learned and improved so much from when he started and continues to progress. The instructors are very helpful, knowledgeable and patient. The experience has taught my son multiple skills.  He has learned to following directions. He has increased his selfesteem and improved his balance and posture. He learns responsibility, caring and compassion, improved self expression as well as how to take care of his horse. In addition to improving his horsemanship skills it has helped him progress in his communication skills and speech with his peers in group lessons and  with his instructors. My son often has issues with his ADHD and staying calm in certain situations... however when he gets on his horse he completely calms down and is able to focus. The horse is definitely a stress reliever and a great form of "therapy" for him. He looks forward to his lesson every week.
We look forward to continuing his lessons at RideAbility and continuing to increase his skills and help him with his individual goals and  independence. Thanks to Wendy and Cynthia and all the staff and volunteers!!❤🐴
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Our daughter, Morgan, has been taking lessons at Rideability Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center since January of 2014. She very much enjoys being the center of attention when she is on her horse, Shadow.  Yes, we say it is “her horse” because she has taken a very loving approach to Shadow. We have tried over the past several years to involve Morgan in a variety of physical activities including soccer, swimming, and basketball.  Horseback riding has been the first sport where Morgan can be a leader rather than a follower.  Morgan has childhood Apraxia of speech, a neurological disorder that makes it difficult for her to communicate.  She also has fine and gross motor delays, and is a step or two slower than her peers when running and playing sports.  However, when she is riding Shadow, she does not feel that same pressure of being on a team.  She does not struggle to find the words or keep up with the other players.  It’s just Morgan and Shadow – with Morgan being in charge, and Shadow following her lead.  We truly believe that removing those pressures is the main reason why riding has been so beneficial for her. Over the past year, Morgan has gained a level of self-confidence that we have never seen in her before.  The independence she now has while riding is remarkable. In addition, Morgan has gained strength in her core muscles and overall coordination. We are truly grateful for all that Rideability has provided not only for Morgan, but for us, as parents. We want nothing more than for our child to be happy and feel like she is part of something special.  We have found that at Rideability.  The smile on Morgan’s face every time she gets on her horse is priceless on so many levels. We are blessed to have found Wendy and her amazing team of volunteers.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with them in the future. 
I would like to thank you for all you have done to assist Megan in her training. Megan is in the 11th grade with several health and learning disabilities. Megan started lessons back in September 2014. She has accomplished so many goals since then. She now is riding on her own. She is able to follow directions and focus on a much higher level. We notice her cognitive ability is much better. Her balance and core strength has improved tremendously. Megan is also making more progress in her classes at school since she started riding. We as parents highly recommend RideAbility to any parents that have a child with disabilities to try therapeutic riding lessons. We are positive you will see your child make great improvements with their abilities. Megan feels a special connection with all the horses she rides. We are so blessed that Wendy has come in to our lives especially for Megan.

Sincerely,
Toni Schollaert

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I'm not sure how I originally heard of Rideability but as I reviewed their online site I noticed that there was a volunteer informational session coming up.  I attended.  They teach volunteers everything they need to know....one does not need to be a horse person.  Little did I know at the time how special Rideability really is.  Those managing Rideability, the volunteers, the riders,  and of course the horses, are amazing and there is true happiness spread each day.  There is such a connection between the rider and horse...smiles are infectious.  I can't imagine not volunteering at Rideability.  Not only does Rideability support the therapeutic needs of the rider but it warms the heart.

Marcia

Sincerely,

Nathan and Emily Buechlein

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Our daughter Haylee first visited Rideability through the summer YMCA program, she absolutely loved the time she spent there so we decided to give it a try.  Well, I will tell you right now that joining the Rideability “family” was one of the best things we could have done for her and for our family.  Haylee has been diagnosed with PDD – NOS; ADHD, Anxiety disorder and Mild Mental Developmental Delay.  It is extremely hard and frustrating for her to do certain tasks that come so easily for other children her age as well as making friends.  After the first few lessons with Wendy and the Rideability team, she was so much more confident in herself and her achievements.  She was like a totally different child in that aspect.  Now, many years later, she still rides and the smiles and giggles we see and hear when she rides is so heartwarming as well as the focus and determination she has for this sport is amazing. Haylee has even made great friends with the other riders that will no doubt be friends for life.  These are sounds, sights and such devotion that her father and I rarely saw before she started riding horses. Haylee has even made great friends with the other riders that will no doubt be friends for life.    Rideability has helped her become the young lady that she is turning in to and we couldn’t be more thankful to Wendy and the whole team.  They are truly part of our extended family and always will be. 

Dawn Nicholson

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Dear Wendy and Volunteers,

My daughter, Gillian, started riding in the program in March, 2016.  After years of struggling to find a correct diagnosis and therapies (my daughter is autistic and has other medical issues), I assumed it would always be a constant battle to get Gillian to participate in her therapies (of which she has/had many).

Our journey to RideAbility started at the end of 2015. I asked both kids what new thing they would like to try in 2016.  My son said gymnastics, and my daughter said ride a horse.  In late February, I mentioned Gillian's wish to ride a horse to her Occupational Therapist and she said I should look into therapeutic riding.  I was unsure putting Gillian on a horse would be a good idea, as she tends to have issues with new experiences.  Her Occupational Therapist was enthusiastic about how it would add to the work she was doing in OT.  Well, when we could get her to participate in her OT (some days she would sit, not move or communicate at all, other than to lash out violently). We were warned that we may have to discontinue if Gillian did not participate in the therapy.

After some research, I found RideAbility, and after a phone call with Wendy, I knew we were onto something.  The following week Gillian and I met Wendy on a Sunday so Gillian could see the horses, barn, arena, and get a feel for the program.  I was surprised at how excited Gillian was to go.  Her usual anxiety was there, but her excitement was stronger.

She met 4 out of the 9 horses up close. Then we went to the far pasture to meet 2 more horses named Cody and Doc.  I was sure Gillian would fall for Doc, the beautiful black horse.  But once she and Cody locked eyes it was clear they were both smitten.  Cody came right up to the gate and nuzzled my daughter.  She saw his different colored eyes and said, “You have different colored eyes, you know how it feels to be different.”

Within minutes Wendy had Gillian leading Cody across the arena to the barn and showed her the basics of grooming.  When Wendy demonstrated the proper way to use the curry brush on Gillian's arm, I thought, “Oh, no!  This was going so well.  Now she'll either hit or yell at Wendy and we'll be turned away.”  Didn't happen.  Gillian was startled by the contact and the sensory input, but was so into learning about caring for Cody, she let it go and moved on (first miracle of many).

In mid-March, Gillian entered the program and began riding.  She was able to withstand the touch of the side walkers (another miracle), followed instructions, took criticism and correction and SMILED!  My daughter smiles while on a horse!  I was crying all though the first few lessons, and to this day still tear up watching my daughter blossom under Wendy's and Cody's care. 

When Wendy mentioned that Gillian should ride in the Spring Horse Show, my daughter agreed.  This girl that would not participate in social act ivies and new adventures, agreed (yet another miracle)! After the Spring Horse Show, Wendy mentioned that Gillian would be great in Special Olympics.  Gillian was not convinced, but trusted Wendy and Cody enough to train.

Training was hard work and started in July (so hot, hot, hot).  Gillian wouldn't give up and despite her anxiety and fears about competing, she rode in Special Olympics in September, 2016.  When she won the Gold Medal in her first event, she willingly stood on the podium (in front of a room full of strangers) and smiled all though the ceremony.

Huge accomplishments.  But the best are not measured by medals and podiums. 

My daughter's Occupational Therapist, released Gillian in August, 2016.  She stated that Gillian was making better progress through RideAbility and since it was the one therapy Gillian actually enjoyed, she should have more time for riding. She was gaining both the physical strength and the vestibular work that was the core of the OT.

Teacher's at school wanted to know that we were doing differently (this at our end-of-year IEP meeting in April, 2016), as Gillian was making tremendous progress in the classroom. Both academic and social.

Our home lives are much calmer since starting with RideAbility.  Gillian is finding her voice to express her needs and frustrations BEFORE the meltdowns.  The verbal and physical outbursts are extremely rare now (used to be daily).

We are blessed.  Thank you Wendy, all the volunteers at RideAbility, and the horses: Cody, Doc, Pache, Dandy, Nemo, Romeo, Stratton, Shadow, Knight, and the late Riggy. 

We still have challenges...hello, puberty.  But the positive changes all started at RideAbility; with an incredible woman named Wendy and a horse named Cody.

Lori Scott, mother of Gillian. Lancaster, SC

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Dear Wendy and the RideAbility Team,

As you know, our daughter Julie (age 25) was in a very bad car accident about 15 years ago, suffering a severe traumatic brain injury. When she came home from CMS Hospital in Charlotte, she was on a feeding tube and could say and do virtually nothing.

In the course of the next 3 years. She went to Shepherd's Center in Atlanta twice the various surgeries, therapies and medication trials. It was 6 months before she could swallow applesauce, 2 years before she could drink through a straw and even longer before she could just blow her nose.

But God was working! Slowly and steadily over the years she had relearned basic skills. She even walks with assistance. As you know! And she talks, albeit softly!!

Because of a providential encounter with your student Laura, we learned about the exciting possibility that Julie could ride again, through your wonderful highly trained program, and we immediately signed Julie up!! Julie had previously enjoyed riding before her accident at Anne Springs Clouse riding school in Fort Mill.

She was warmly welcomed by you and your terrific team of dedicated, well-trained volunteers.

(Safety has been a critical factor for Julie and all of you have given me the peaceful confidence that she is very safe with you!!!) And along with that, each of you have been Julie's cheerleaders and support team while making what is now "work" for Julie (as she will learn to use her body while riding) and a lot of joy and fun!!

I have watched Julie as she has bonded with her sweet horse Cody and as she has improved so much so soon from riding him!! Her trunk strength, balance, neck control and hand coordination, are improving so much and have been noted by her physical therapist at Catawba Rehabilitation, Eric Schmidt.

It's very clear that more areas of Julie's body and mind, or "waking up" and re-coordinating themselves to move forward in the healing process!! Therapeutic riding has done so much in this regard that other therapies cannot do. We are so very appreciative of the outstanding work that you do!! And very grateful to God for leading us to you through Laura!!

Please know how very much. You Wendy and each of your entire team are loved and valued (and bragged about) by us!!! We look forward to many more years with you!!!

Sincerely,

Debbie Silverthorn

Rock Hill, South Carolina

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Dear Wendy,

There are many reasons I love horseback riding. For one thing I love horses.They are pretty animals. I can get a little exercise and have fun. Riding also offers me a chance to get away from my disability for a while. It also offers me freedom and independence.

Laura Rosbrook

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