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Thank you for being my legs because mine don't work.
Thank you for always being ready for me to be lifted onto your back while you stand quietly until my body relaxes.
Thank you Indian for waiting patiently when I start to get tired and need more help from everyone to stay upright.
You make no demands, you never rush me, and you don't complain.... ever! Even though neither one of us can talk we still communicate and every week when I arrive, I see you looking at me and I know you’re silently telling me “I've got your back kid”.
You never judge me based on my disabilities, you just love me for me, and I love you for your incredibly kind goofy heart. Your gentle calm nature taught me that I can trust you completely.
Thank you for always keeping me safe no matter what.
You’re a big softy and you left an imprint on my heart that will last forever.
I love you!
For parents considering therapeutic horseback riding for their child: DON’T HESITATE…
Our daughter has been diagnosed with both ASD and Speech Apraxia. We didn’t understand “why” or “how” riding a horse would benefit our daughter. 18 months later and we simply cannot articulate how VERY much riding with Healing Touch has helped our daughter…
In a short time, our daughter looked forward to her Saturday routine. She struggled - with little or weak muscle-tone she couldn’t mount, she was signing instead of speaking, she was skittish and withdrawn… Within a month’s time the staff at Healing Touch had our daughter smiling upon arrival. The staff at Healing Touch were the first folks outside of Mom or Dad to get a genuine hug from our daughter. SHE WAS EXCITED! And she LOVED being around the horses… even grew very attached to one particular…
Around the three month mark our daughter started working aggressively toward speaking. We shared this with Healing Touch, and they adapted and challenged and worked with our daughter to transition out of signing while riding into short but specific commands. Our daughter was barely audible at first… but SPEAKING! “Stop”, “Walk-on”, “Whoa”… and when to use each… If you could have seen our daughter then and see her now, you’d be shocked - not only did Healing Touch work with her through her silence, but with their constant smiles, encouragement, and engagement our little girl has become quite the chatterbox… And she sings! And she jokes! I attribute a big part of this growth for our daughter to the team at Healing Touch and their approach to working with our daughter’s specific and unique needs –
Our Saturday has become a ritual for us now. Our daughter gets ready frantically every Saturday morning… sets out her helmet so “no one forgets” (Dad). Upon arrival she wants to rush into the stable to see and kiss her horse. Miss Chris and Miss Mary always get big hugs along the way. She mounts with supervision, but she mounts. And, she rides very well… well enough that her horseback riding has progressed to her holding her reins correctly, and, she does most of the driving for her horse. She is genuinely riding a horse!
We cannot thank Healing Touch enough for their care and involvement with our daughter. We have no regrets, and I would recommend Healing Touch to any parent that has wondered, “What else can we do…?”
When I first started volunteering at Healing Touch, all I thought I wanted to do was to be around horses and to learn all I could about them. I have had a tremendous love for horses since I was a little girl, but it was not until I retired that I pursued my dream.
But then I began to see the reactions of the children when they would get up on their horse; there was usually a big smile from the time they’d get on until they got off. I’ve been there almost 3 years now and to see these children grow in self-confidence, become more verbal, and to learn the technical skill of handling these large, beautiful animals has been even more rewarding than just being around horses.
The whole experience of working around the horses, seeing their different personalities, learning barn chores and about the tack, working alongside the other volunteers as a team, getting to know the children and their wonderful parents (families), seeing the progress of the children and the appreciation of the parents, and seeing the dedication of the instructors and all the work involved in keeping Healing Touch going, has been a real blessing to me. I am honored to be a part of Healing Touch.
Kayla has been riding at Healing Touch Therapeutic Riding Center since March 2014. She has truly enjoyed her experience. She began with side walkers and a lead and now she rides independently.
Therapeutic Riding has been an enormous part of her growth in so many ways. She is a very confident young lady and her ability to focus and concentrate on tasks has greatly improved over the years of riding.
Kayla has participated in Special Olympics for the last three years and has made it to the State Competition all three years. Walking away with many blue ribbons from the Area, Regional and State games. We are so very proud of her accomplishments.
Last year Kayla got her own horse, Cloud, a beautiful paint that has given her so much joy. Cloud has been her partner in Special Olympics in Tennessee also. Again, Kayla stepping out with another blue ribbon.
Much of her success must be credited to the wonderful and skilled training that she has received from Ms. Chris at Healing Touch. The Healing Touch center is more than a place to ride …. It is a happy and positive place where everyone is family.
We have been truly blessed to be a part of this loving family for the last five years and we look forward to many more years of growth and friendship with Ms. Chris and Ms. Mary and all the wonderful, caring volunteers that make this center a very special place.
The opportunity last year to become a volunteer with HEALING TOUCH has surprised and enriched me beyond anything I could have imagined. As I approached retirement I expected that any act by me to contribute to my community in some way, would only be a gesture that might give me a sense of purpose.
As the weeks passed by I had some surprises, those horses are BIG, but gentle and each with very distinct personality and they respond obediently to our able wrangler, Chris.
The personal payback soon became obvious because it resulted in where I was receiving the joy of getting to know all the other volunteers and further as I witnessed the awesome love that the parents have for their “special” kids! I soon became attached to our students which I watched as they bravely, despite their uniqueness slowly but with determination improved upon their challenges to methodically increase their physical and mental performances.
This past Saturday as I was watching my 14 year old son Scott receiving his therapy at Healing Touch Therapeutic Riding Center, my mind took me back to when he was 6 years old and just starting his therapy.
Scott was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or high functioning Autism when he was 4 years old. At the time I felt that my world had come to a standstill. Then something amazing happened! I found Healing Touch!
Over the years my son has been touched in innumerable ways by his Healing Touch family. He has grown from the small 6 year old barely able to sit on Finnegan (his favorite horse) to competing as a top athlete in the Special Olympics. Since starting at Healing Touch my son has grown in so many ways.
His confidence, understanding of his abilities, empathy, and over all emotional well-being shine every time he rides and competes. He has learned to focus and work hard listening to Ms. Chris (his “coach”) during his sessions. Scott’s fine motor skills and muscle tone have improved immensely over the years. Recently, he has been focusing on his leg muscles while learning to control the horse’s movements.
Healing Touch has become part of our family. We find joy, love, caring, and friendship with everyone from the volunteers, who give their time and kindness, parents who share their experiences with each other, and of course Ms. Chris and Ms. Mary who greet us with a smile and a hug at the beginning and the end of each session.
Autism is a journey and Healing Touch has been a wonderful blessing as my family and I continue to find our way through its many twists and turns.
Your support and contributions will enable Healing Touch to meet our goals and continue to provide our services to the Special Needs community.