The Arena Classroom
I wanted to send you this project report a bit early for a couple of reasons, one...because it is the holiday season and two, we have accomplished so much in the past year that we wanted to share it with you!
We began our journey with GlobalGiving.org a year ago, we never ever dreamed it would be as wonderful as it has been. We have met some incredibly passionate individuals who give generously, from donations, to services and of themselves. Your support made is possible for us to purchase our Equicizer, Dumplin', which was received in March. Since then we have been able to start accepting Early Intervention clients as young as 2 years old for Pediatric Hippotherapy services. We have heard first words spoken, watched first steps taken. It has been simply overwhelming.
Dumplin' has also allowed us to teach our Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding clients more effectively. For example, learning the Posting Trot is easier for students because we can teach each step one at time, step by step. We can teach safe mounting and dismounting, tacking up, correct position for leading and handling and so much more. We even have some clients who are learning the basics of vaulting!
For riders who cannot safely ride a live horse, (such as those with issues mounting and dismounting, or who may need equipment that cannot safely be used with a live moving animal) Dumplin' has become the chance to ride they may never have had. All the health benefits of riding can be enjoyed...and for some, it may be the bridge that takes them from unable...to able!
Having Dumplin' also benefits the horses! Our horses have less stress, are more respected and can do their jobs more effectively because the clients come to them ready to work safely and with compassion and empathy. While the Equicizer was a costly purchase at nearly $3700, the cost of caring for a horse properly is a minimum of $2500 per year. Dumplin' requires no special veterinary care, training, farrier care or a manure fork! Over the course of 10 years an additional horse would cost our program $25000 or more. Dumplin'? Just the cost a vacuum cleaner, some furniture polish and nice fleece blanket every few years. Our goal is to acquire a second Equicizer within the next 3 years. Having two will allow our therapists to work with their assistants and our staff to provide more sessions at less cost, and ring new opportunities for fun social activities for the clients ...a win-win!
Because of your support Dumplin' lives in our new climate controlled therapy room which also functions as our meeting room and office. Our therapy cats, Lucy and Liza, live with Dumplin' and keep us all entertained and help clients ride longer and reach goals while having fun! We can offer Bibliotherapy and literacy development classes. We are able to hold trainings and clinics, to have parties for our riders, celebrate triumphs, and so much more.
Expanded Programming For Adults
This year we expanded our programming from a seasonal 20 week program to a full year, 40 week program. In addition to Hippotherapy and Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding we now open the farm to nearly 30 adult residents of Broome Developmental Center each week. They enjoy a comprehensive Equine Facilitated Learning program while spending some time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. We have learned teamwork, how to trust each other and ourselves, how to care for horses and show them respect, and how to earn and give respect in our daily lives. During 2013 we hope to expand further, bring nearly 50 individuals to the farm each week, including groups will volunteer. If our fundraising goals are met, we will also be able to purchase a serviceable used van and begin Equne Facilitated Learning visits to the center and area schools and community organizations.
In addition to the therapy room, we completed the classroom, arena footing upgrades, full area fencing, a seasonal restroom and a full tackroom in the outdoor portion of the farm. An additional stall was added to the main barn for Donkey and improvements to the center barn are ongoing. A restroom for the therapy room is on the job list for spring. These improvements have been made with very little cost to the program because of recycled building materials and donated services and supplies.
What's Up For 2013?
There are some great things coming up in 2013 and we hope that you will share the journey with us.
- We have two new fundraising events under development
- We will offer two American Hippotherapy Association clinics
- Jessica Reinartz PT, DPT, Allyson Cheechalk and I will all complete our American Hippotherapy Association I Certification
- We will welcome Jewel, a lovely Quarter Horse adopted from Sunkissed Acres Equine Rescue
- We will unveil a unique addition to our programming that will enhance the field the Equine Assisted Therapies and Activities...I can't tell you yet...but you will be the first to hear the news!
Thank you. Thank you so much. You see, I couldn't write all this if you hadn't contributed to our GlobalGiving fundraising appeal. You may not even know about us. You might not have had the chance to see all this change, all this good. You made a choice to become involved with our program, and we are so grateful that you did. We can't wait to share more joy, more success, more growth and change with you in the months to come.
On behalf of the more than 40 students and clients, our incredible 100% volunteer staff, the horses, the farm animals, the dogs, the cats, my family and the community...our heartfelt wishes for a holiday season filled with everything bright and beautiful and a New Year full of peace and prosperity.
Founder and Executive Director
Awesome Volunteers from BDC!
Dusty doing what he does best!