I became a volunteer at Dream Catcher Stables over 10 years ago, helping to care for the horses and became the chief tractor operator. My wife and granddaughter had volunteered and they convinced me to join them for the day. I have been actively involved in all aspects of the organization ever since. I find nothing more rewarding than to see the smiles on the athletes faces when they have participated in one of the competitions we attend.
My first encounter with one of our athletes with downs was to see this small person running across the parking lot just as fast as her little legs would carry her. She threw herself at me and gave me the best welcoming hug and big smile I could have possibly hoped for. We have been good buddies ever since.
Since our involvement with Dream Catchers, we have been joined by another granddaughter, her dad and our youngest granddaughter, who is not only a volunteer, but an athlete as well. Being a volunteer/athlete has boosted her self-esteem and confidence and helped her to become more focused.
It always warms my heart and is so rewarding to see how much the athletes enjoy their time at the stables.
Over 10 years ago, I read an article in the local newspaper describing Dream Catcher Stables and the services it provides to handicapped individuals. I called Sanna Roling, president and founder of Dream Catcher Stables and offered to volunteer. My granddaughter who was 12 at the time, and a horse lover, and I headed for the stables the next weekend. It took only that Saturday morning working with the athletes and horses for us to be hooked. It is truly amazing to watch the athletes and the horses interact with one another.
Our organization is made up of caring, dedicated volunteers who truly love what we do.
I have met athletes of all ages with varying degrees of disabilities. All have touched my heart. Their determination and desire to learn are inspiring and heartwarming. Many of the athletes and volunteers and their families have become lifetime friends. I had one mother of two autistic children tell me that Dream Catchers was one of the few places she could take her children and not feel like she was being judged.
One of our athletes, who was confined to a wheel chair, usually was not very talkative. Once he was sitting on a horse, he became a chatterbox. I overheard him talking with my granddaughter while she was holding his horse while waiting for his turn to compete. He turned to me and asked, "Do you know why I like to ride horses"? He went on to say that when he rode a horse he felt like a normal kid. That was one of the many "Wow" moments I have had while volunteering with this organization. I cannot describe the feeling I get when I see a rider's pride and sense of accomplishment when they have ridden in the one of the competitions our organization attends.
All of the donations our organization receives go for maintaining healthy horses and the continuation of our program. We are an all volunteer organization.
mSeven years ago my youngest daughter needed volunteer hours for Honor society and this organization was recommended by a co-worker. With my daughters years of horsemanship experience this was a perfect niche. We have both been active volunteers in this program and found the experience to be very rewarding,. As a parent of a severly disabled older daughter I can appreciate the struggles of our athletes parents. The athletes not only learn to ride but bond with the horses by grooming and even bathing them. Through this process they development communication skills, bond with their fellow athletes and their parents are rewarded with smiles rather disruptive behavior. Many of the athletes are autisitic and changes in their routine pose a major challenge. We have seen tremendous changes in some of these athletes and the elation of parents who have struggled with their childs limitations.
Our services are provided to athletes of every economic background.
I would recommend this program to athelets and volunteers of all ages.
My wife and I have been volunteers at Dream Catchers for the last three years. The total dedication of the program and volunteers is helping students with disabilities to grow in abilities and self confidence. There is no glory or pride among members of the team. As typical of an all volunteer program there is a constant challenge to provide the best program for the students with the limited funds available .
My grand daughter who has Downs Syndrome started riding in this program when she was five years old & she's now 15, before she started riding she was not sitting up straight and had no confidence in herself. The confidence that she's gotten from being able to ride & compete in Top Hands and other competitions have been amazing and she's so outgoing now & loves the shows. To her she has no disabilities! Thank God it is a program that I can afford to keep my granddaughter in!
Dreamcatchers stables has helped my 11 year old daughter , when she first started 2 years ago our life after school was very hard there was lots of crying and yelling ,I think due to the frustrations that come along with having a learning disability. This year she has been able to ride often because the weather has held out for us as a result she has gained more confidence and is joining clubs at school now.-Mandy , I
My daughter started this program because of someone recommending Dreamcatchers when I was sharing about her learning disorder. I couldn't ask for more, Sanna takes the time for this because she truly believes in it and I'm so greatful.
I am a volunteer at Dream Catcher Stables. I feed our nine beautiful horses two days a week. On weekends I help with the riding and horsemanship programs we offer to disabled and handicapped young folks and adults. I am retired and now have time to do more things that I enjoy but my time is not limitless. I am grateful for my situation in life and feel that I want to include some amount of community service in my activities. This is not a perfect world and there are many people, animals, and organizations that need help. The Government can’t meet everyone’s needs though it might try. I know I am only one person but I want to do my part. Volunteering takes time, energy, and sometimes money and it can mean a lot of hard work. I am happy that I became acquainted with Dream Catcher Stables several years ago and have made volunteering there a meaningful part of my life. Over the years I have met many wonderful people through the program including generous volunteers and serious athletes who want to do their best regardless of their limitations. It is truly amazing to see how the interaction of the athletes and our horses has such positive results. In many of our athletes, I have witnessed improved confidence, self-esteem, and physical strength. Their family members often tell us how the experiences at our barn have positively affected their lives at home, and school, or work. We are a small organization but we are providing services to an ever growing number of athletes. We have aspirations of growing our facilities to better serve our athletes and meet the future demands. It is rewarding to be a part of an organization that manages its limited assets well and offers so much with very little.
My son Parker is on the Autism Spectrum. We came to Dream Catcher Stables Inc about 3 years ago after Sanna Roling heard about Parker's school situation. He was having a very difficult time in school with anxiety and meltdowns and was actually scared to go to school. My husband and myself found ourselves at the school on a daily and/or weekly basis. I t became difficult to do our jobs due to the anxiety and anticipation of phone calls. Parker's self help skills had also regressed at this point. Our family was struggling at this point. Mrs. Roling immediately invited Parker to come to Dream Catcher Stables Inc. Upon Parker's arrival to Dream Catcher Stables Inc, he immediately felt at home and was treated with respect and kindness. This is truly a place where our family doesn't have to apologize for his behavior and acceptance. His confidence and self esteem are continuing to grow. He has become more verbal as well as his balance has improved. He is now able to ride a bicycle without training wheels and is able to focus and not crash into things thanks to the skills Mrs. Roling and her volunteers have taught him. He looks forward to coming every week. Mrs. Roling also believed in him and gave him an opportunity to participate and in the Top Hands Rodeo two years in a row. He is very proud of his trophies and the memories that he has from each rodeo. We have also witnessed the care and individual attention that is given to every rider. Mrs. Roling doesn't turn any rider away even if they don't have any means to pay. She has tried very hard to raise money to buy some permanent land. However, it is very difficult in today's economy. My hope and wish for her is that she is able to buy the land so that she can make a difference in many more lives for years to come.
My son has Autism and was having a lot of problems in school. When Sanna Roling, the President, of Dream Catcher's Stables Inc., heard about our sons problems, she informed my husband and I about her program. We are very grateful for her, her vision of Dream Catcher Stables, and the volunteers that come out each week to assist the riders. She services individuals both children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and truly cares about each rider and their families. She doesn't turn anyone away and is very professional. We are so glad that we heard about this program. She puts 100% of the donations into her program and isn't looking for a profit like so many other therapy programs. Our son looks forward to riding the horses and seeing Mrs. Roling. He is learning a lot from being in her program.
Three years ago we were searching for an experience for our developmentally disadvantaged sister. She loves animal and expressed interest in riding a horse. She lives in a group home in Louisiana and after finding Dream Catchers my sister and I have alternated driving 150 miles each way every other weekend for her to ride and participate in Dream Catchers programs. She has gained confidence, better balance, and pride of accomplishment. She has been accepted as a peer in a world where she is sometimes dismissed because of her disabilities. She has been able to participate in the Houston Rodeo program with Dream Catchers for three years and is very proud of the trophies and ribbons she has won. Dream Catchers has been an answer to our prayers for giving her a better life.
The fact that we even found Dream Catcher Stables is God's intervention. My daughter and I were sitting in a surgical center waiting for another one of her surgeries when we met someone from this program. My daughter was 4 at the time and knows no stranger. She will talk to anyone and this person happened to be waiting beside us. They started talking to us and this person invited us to come try out the program when she turned 5.
My daughter has some pretty severe developmental delays and balance issues. I wasn't sure how it would go but figured we would try it out. I was kind of nervous to put her on the horse that first day but was pleasantly surprised. My child who sometimes will stumble and fall just randomly on the ground has almost perfect balance on the horse.
Dream Catcher Stables is quite a drive from our house but we make the trip most weekends that weather permits. There are other programs closer but none that offer such individual service at such an affordable price. My daughter loves coming here and loves working with Sanna. I cannot say enough good things about them.
Her balance has definitely improved since starting. To me, though, one of the best things is my daughter is able to have something that she can do. She isn't really able to play sports like most kids can but this is something she can be involved in and in a few years they will even teach her to compete.