Our daughter was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal disorder at the age of 10 1/2 months. Immediately, we started OT, PT, speech/feeding therapy and developmental therapy as she was delayed in all developmental areas. She has hypotonia so she requires lots of activity to build muscle to walk and work on fine motor activities. Our OT mentioned Horse and Buddy and how horseback riding will help with the hypotonia. At age 21 1/2 months, she rode Peanut for the first time. She loved it and showed no fear! Since then, she has gained more strength to walk, feed herself and accomplish other therapy goals. Every week, she has the same volunteers to help accomplish her goals. Horse and Buddy has opened up a world to our daughter… working on therapy goals without feeling like it's therapy. It's a fun activity for her. I cannot say how much we love Horse and Buddy. It is an outstanding organization that continues to help our daughter in everyday life.
When Peter began riding at Horse and Buddy over 4 years ago, his mobility and body control was much more limited. He could not walk up or down stairs without assistance, balance on one foot, control his body to protect himself from falls, and more. Because hippotherapy and therapeutic riding works numerous muscle groups, challenges the nervous system, and is just so much fun, Peter’s strength, balance, and coordination have grown tremendously. This improved control enhances his daily living activities, safety, and his abilities within his favorite activities, like dance and basketball. Increased core strength also translates to better distal control, which has helped improve his fine motor, swallowing, and speech movements. Plus, anything with horses helps practice responsibility, care for others, and adds pure joy to our lives. Beyond the physical benefits, we love the staff and
volunteers (and horses!) who genuinely love our son and others they work with. Their dedication and heart are obvious and welcoming. Peter wants to share a few of his own words: “I love Horse and
Buddy because I love the horses and the games we play. I feel strong and brave when I ride horses. I love my friends at the barn and they love me." Horse and Buddy helps our son and so many others not just sustain, but thrive. We can’t ever express our gratitude enough.
Atle has been riding with Horse & Buddy for about 7 years. Atle has low muscle tone, scoliosis, kyphosis and very low bone density. Riding has helped a great deal with his core strength and muscle tone which in turn has stopped the progress of his spine curvature. But this is all secondary to how much Atle enjoys riding the big horse! Just to see his smile and how excited he gets when it is time to go to the barn makes our day. The staff are amazing and I have no doubt that he is safe with them. We are so grateful to Horse and Buddy for providing this opportunity for our son.
Before Riley started riding at Horse and Buddy, he would refuse to try new things, was extremely shy or would shut down when in slightly stressful situations. He also had trouble with balance and coordination. From the minute he met the staff at Horse and Buddy and first sat on Joe, he was a different child. His anxiety disappears when he rides Joe. When his session ends, he can’t stop talking about the horses and staff. His balance and coordination have improved so much he can now pedal a bike and kick a ball and run. He is getting better about trying new things and going to new places without shutting down or refusing to go. He has become quite outgoing and chatty even when he meets new people.
From a parent perspective, Horse and Buddy is the first place we have ever taken Riley that I feel completely comfortable with the staff and have never felt the need to follow and watch. I know with unwavering confidence that they are there for the children and want them to succeed as much as the parents do. I couldn’t ask for a more loving, supportive organization for my son and my family