I should preface this post by saying Grace Rides holds a special place in my heart. It wasn’t long ago that I was heavily involved in the program through volunteer participation. The facility was located just a few streets away from me and it was almost daily that my son and I would help out with whatever we could, whether it was side walking the rides or mucking stalls or helping take care of the horses. Whatever was needed and we absolutely loved it.
So what is Grace Rides? Grace Rides is a PATH (Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship) program that provides equine-assisted activities and therapies to individuals with special needs. It used to be isolated to mostly adults and children with exceptionalities such as Autism, Down Syndrome and the like. The facility recently moved to a new and bigger location and has expanded its program to include many other participants with special needs.
The new facility includes programs such as Therapeutic rides, Mental Health , Veterans and a Camp program. You can even sponsor a horse. There are many ways to participate in this wonderful program. For me, I was fulfilled just by being with the horses and the riders and seeing the smiles on the kids faces as they achieved new accomplishments and abilities. Taking care of the horses was also a love of mine, feeding them, walking them, and even cleaning up after them.
If you want to be a participant in any of the programs offered, I have linked all the information for you above. Please contact them and they will walk you through getting signed up.
Now, lets talk about how you can give to the cause….as mentioned before, volunteering your time is always welcome and heavily needed. I don’t think they can ever have TOO MANY volunteers. You will need to fill out a form and take a class but it is needed to make sure of the safety of the participants. I can tell you that you wont find a more fulfilling way to give of your time than this. Also, it needs to be mentioned that the hours do count toward college requirements for Community Service. Everything is documented.
Other ways you can help are to donate and/or sponsor a horse. Donations can be monetary or just barn supplies, which they will always need. You can even sponsor a rider. Please understand, they never turn away anyone due to lack of funds and not everyone can afford to pay for this kind of therapy. So sponsorship is always a great opportunity.
Some of the newer programs I am just learning about are the Mental Health program and Veterans Program. From what I understand, the Mental Health program allows the patient and therapist to work together to engage in the horse caretaking which allows walls to be broken down and room for communication. The Veterans Program (aka Horses for Heroes) helps veterans with PTSD problems. I think this is one of the most amazing programs around and I believe in it. I’ve seen how it helps people! If you are within a driving distance to Grace Rides or any other PATH or facility like this, please give 1 hour a week or more if you can. They need all the help they can get! It is absolutely amazing to experience the love in this place. (And you get to interact with horses…….just sayin! lol )
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