Horseback Riding: A Special Activity for Children with Special Needs
Riding Hope began 10 years ago with a dream two mothers had for their daughters. What started with one horse, five children with special needs, and 10 volunteers has grown into an amazing organization, that has served more than 100 children and involved more than 100 volunteers, including 12 horses.
Independent Business Owner Jill Bacon, who’s also an occupational therapist, has been a volunteer with Riding Hope for nine years and she’s seen what a wonderful impact it’s had.
It’s incredible to see how much these kids benefit from riding the horses.
- Jill Bacon
“There are children with Down’s Syndrome who strengthen their back and tummy muscles so they can walk and run more independently; children with cerebral palsy who benefit from the shape of the horse’s body and the warmth that relaxes their tight muscles; children with autism who find calmness in the repetitive movement of the horse, which helps them focus and communicate better; children with social anxiety challenges that connect with the gentleness of the horse,” says Jill with an enormous sense of satisfaction.
The benefits carry over to the families of the children, too, who find a supportive environment where the kids enjoy activities that are all their own.
“I’m proud to give my time and talent to such a wonderful organization,” says Jill, noting that it’s completely run by volunteers, and it’s obvious that she gets a lot out of it, too!