I posted about this on another board, but I have been so impressed with this non-profit that I thought I'd spread the warm fuzzies here!
Last week, I received an email from NVTRP, the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, where I volunteered over a decade ago. The most recent email was an update on their capital campaign to purchase acreage and establish a permanent facility. The email ended with the line, "In the weeks and months ahead you will hear more about how you can help make Peachy Keen’s birthday wish come true – a forever farm for her 30th birthday. "
I gasped when I read that. I remember Peachy Keen from way back in 1996. She was a charming little chestnut pony who was broke to death, a real saint of a horse who loved "her kids" and took her work seriously. I rushed over to the web site, eager to see if there was photographic evidence that they really had kept her all these years. And here she is, third horse down, looking GREAT for a senior horse: http://www.nvtrp.org/horses.php
I was so impressed that this program was not only supporting one of their veterans into her old age, but doing so in tough economic times while raising funds to purchase a new farm.
But wait, it gets better. I used NVTRP's online donation form to send a little dribble "in honor" of Peachy Keen. And when I got the mailed receipt for my contribution this week, someone had taken the time to write in a handwritten thank-you on behalf of "Peaches and her Pony Pals!" I can count on ONE HAND the number of times I've gotten a handwritten thank-you from a non-profit organization, especially for such a small little dribble of a donation. Sunkissed Acres is probably the only other one I can remember!
Talk about a class operation. I know they'll be on my COTH Secret Santa list for 2009 for sure!
Grand daughter rides there, she has CP. Kira just turned 6. We met Peaches, she might even have had a few rides on her. She normally rides Cinders and lately PB. What a great place. She went from sitting sideways in the saddle to riding astride within 3 lessons. Bri is great!!! When Kira went in for surgery in September (casts on both legs) she couldn't take the next session but Bri called her at home to see how she was. Can't say enough about this program. Kira doesn't get to play t-ball or soccer. This is her sport and she loves it. They are all great there. My husband said something about all the people that help out. I told him, yep, horsie volunteers, the best. When Kira began riding it took a trainer and two helpers, one on each side to hold her legs to ensure she didn't slip. Again, KUDOs to this program!
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
"Kira doesn't get to play t-ball or soccer. This is her sport and she loves it."
Thank you...you summed it up perfectly. This is a sport, a therapy, an intervention, a preventative, recreation...it is SO MUCH more than people give it credit for.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is that this is all theirs. The moment they mount the horse or take the reins it becomes their moment. And with the right program and right instructor they rider can take it as far as they wish to go.
My daughter told Jean (classicsporthorses here on COTH) that she did want to think about showing locally next spring. And you know what? She will, with Jean's guidance and support she will go as far as she wants to. This is her sport. It is hers to make or break. She is responsible for her successes and failures. If she works hard she will go far. It is her sport.
This past summer one of my favorite riders competed in a small local Special Olympics show. He has a very rare condition that causes some some severe physical limitations. Little by little we let him explore his abilities. And after approval from his care team he rode in the competition independently. I cried the whole time he rode.
These riders celebrate their abilities each and every time they ride. Like most people without a special need they have a release, something they are good at, something that brings them joy and challenges them to succeed to the best of their ability.
I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques
Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.