Abbey is now a 31 year old adult diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. She has been riding horses for many
years. Abbey has always loved riding. In fact, she nearly wore out the springs on the hobby horse her
grandfather gave her when she was around 2 years of age. Abbey is now much less mobile and requires more physical support and adaptation in order to be safe on a horse, but she continues to have great enthusiasm for therapeutic riding. The smile on her face says it all.
From the first email we sent to Horse and Buddy, after moving to the Raleigh area, not only did Janet
and Holly make an effort to respond immediately, they hunted us down via our former riding program,
because their emails to us bounced back. We quickly had an appointment to visit the barn and Abbey
was on the schedule for riding within a short period of time. Abbey was instantly a Rosa and Emma fan.
The staff and volunteers are always joyful, friendly, caring, accepting and very skilled in making the
needs of each rider a priority for lessons. Abbey’s dad always says – “those folks are just good people.”
When we arrive at the barn, there is immediate welcoming and interaction by staff and volunteers. We
have been fortunate to have a very consistent riding team for Abbey. What we are struck by is; many of
the volunteers are regulars at Horse and Buddy and clearly know and carry out their responsibilities and
duties automatically. They know us and we know them. This speaks volumes about the structure and
management of the organization as a whole.
We can’t say enough good things about the staff and volunteers at Horse and Buddy. The program is
very thoughtful in their selection, care and understanding of the therapy horses that are a vital part
of the program. They continue to touch Abbey’s life, as well as ours.
My daughter Brittany has been riding at Horse and Buddy for 20+ years. When she was 3 1/2 she was diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma Brain Tumor which caused her vision loss and developmental disabilities. She has come a long way with her riding lessons, her core muscles are stronger, she has more confidence, she is willing to try new things and she has made lots of friends. The older Brittany got the more difficult it was to find activities for her with so many benefits but at Horse and Buddy there is no age limit. The staff is amazing and Brittany has a smile on her face the entire lesson.
Horse and Buddy!!! What can I say but they are amazing!! Our eldest, Abbey has been riding with them since she was 4 or 5 around 2005. Abbey is now almost 22. It’s her favorite day of the week when she is riding Jagg! It’s also how we know she knows her days of the week. She has grown so much from her experience riding. She went from not walking to walking. To having balance. And calming her sensory needs. In 2014 our other daughter started riding as well. It helped build Zoe’s confidence, and her focus. She is now learning how to care for the horses and hopes to volunteer some too starting next yr. Horse and Buddy is family to us. We love them and all they have done for our family. The Rippers
Jack has been with Horse and Buddy for almost 5 years. When we got started we were in a small group class and Jack had very little control of the horse. Even through COVID the amazing staff and volunteers at Horse and Buddy worked with him and now he is riding solo! He is verbally communicating with Jagg. We have been so happy having Jack learn to ride and take care of his horse.
I am so glad to have found this amazing facility.
Our delightful son Seth is 27 and has been riding with Horse and Buddy weekly since he was approximately 8 or 9 years old. To this day, I am shocked with awe every time he mounts his horse and sits up perfectly straight with no prompting needed at all. He has Cerebral Palsy that significantly impacts both his gross and fine motor skills along with some intellectual development delays as well. His balance, leg and core strength are all limited as well as his ability to hold his head up and hold eye contact for extended time periods. We love what the H&B program has done for our son and have also seen a tremendous number of participants with very diverse challenges benefit from the program over the years.
When Peter began riding at Horse and Buddy when he was 3 1/2 years old, his mobility and body control was much more limited. He could not walk up or down stairs without assistance, balance on one foot, or control his body to protect himself from falls. Because therapeutic riding works numerous muscle groups and challenges the nervous system, 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, and also translates to better distal control, improving his fine motor, swallowing, and speech movements. Plus, anything with horses helps practice responsibility, care for others, and adds pure joy to our lives. We love the staff and volunteers (and horses!) who genuinely love those they work with. Peter says: “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."
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