TESTIMONIALS FROM OUR AMAZING RIDERS AND PARENTS


To Whom It May Concern,

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. 

Sincerely,

Nathan and Emily Buechlein


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 Pache 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


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

 Wendy, Michael and Volunteers

I want to express my gratitude to you and your team for your outstanding care, love and training you offer at Rideability Therapeutic Center. My daughter, Sydney LoPour,(young adult with Down syndrome) began riding with you last summer. It was only with your expertise and love that she was as successful as she was in her riding. Within a very short period of time, she gained strength in her legs, confidence in the saddle and expressed a deeper sense of self-worth. She performed at a level I had not thought possible without months and months of work, yet accomplished in a few short weeks! She had never ridden English style before nor had trotted on a horse prior to your training. It was incredible to watch her learn, grow and master the skills you offer there! She also expressed a greater interest in our pets at home and offers the same love and attention to our puppies she did to her horse!

Her riding partner, Romeo, one of the biggest horses you have at Rideability, was a great match for her; even though I thought at first she would be afraid of his size and stature. They were a perfect fit and Sydney was So Proud of him! In addition, riding with you and your team has given Sydney the opportunity to compete in Special Olympics Equestrian State games in NC. We look forward to another great year competing next season! I can’t say enough to express how wonderful you all are! You make a great difference in many lives and many yet to come to experience you and your wonderful team of horses, volunteers and riders!

Sincerely,

LyRae Davis Mother of Sydney LoPour                                                                                                  



Dear Wendy and the RideAbility Team,

As you know, our daughter Julie (age 25) was in a very bad car accident about 10 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!!

Last year, 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


Dear Wendy,


I would like to thank you for all you have done to assist Megan in her training.

Megan is in the 7th 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 connections with all the horses she rides. 

We are so blessed that Wendy has come in to our lives 
especially for Megan.

Sincerely,

Toni and Mike Schollaert


1/16/15

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

 

VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Working with RideAbility truly changed my life. I have always love horses, and helping people with special needs. I love how Wendy, Michael and all of the volunteers dedicate so much of their time to make sure that the riders are getting the therapy that they need. The look on the kids faces when they make the connection with their horse is enough to make a persons whole day. The horses are some of the most amazing animals on the planet. They are so gentle and sweet and all they really care about is the riders and making sure that they are safe and secure. I couldn't ask for a better place to spend my days then with Wendy, the riders and our horses. Amanda P





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