Our Faith enables us to nurture abilities in individuals with special needs.
Equine Dreams is a not-for-profit organization which provides therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, cognitive, and social disabilities. Our program began in 1998 and is a NARHA Premier Accredited Center. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with special needs. All services are free to our clients.
Therapeutic riding uses equine assisted activities for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well being of individuals with disabilities. Therapeutic riding is a unique tool in that with the assistance of a horse, an individual who is learning to balance can experience the three dimensional movement of ambulation. Through this movement the rider learns the functional tasks for weight shifting, balance, and equilibrium responses which are all necessary components of ambulation.
Other riders have social or cognitive disabilities and they benefit in numerous ways. They learn basic skills through planned interaction and experiences with the horse. They learn not only riding skills, but also the structure, needs, personality and environment of a horse. They develop a sensitivity to the needs and learn all the activities involved in the grooming, feeding, caring for and riding these animals. Through these activities, the student develops an awareness of his own care and needs and a sensitivity to the needs and care of all things, living and inanimate, which he or she can apply to everyday learning. They also work on listening skills, eye contact, right vs. left, along with many other cognitive skills.
Social isolation and limited access to services remain major problems to individuals with disabilities. Equine Dreams provides services to individuals as well as neighboring group homes and schools from three surrounding counties in Northern Illinois. Equine Dreams operates entirely on funds generated by private donation, foundation grants, fundraising events and in-kind donations. This assistance allows access to services without placing a financial burden on its participants.
The demand is great and the benefits are remarkable. This drives all of us at Equine Dreams to continually seek new avenues to provide and expand services to the children and adults who need it most. Equine Dreams provides services to between 70-100 riders a week.
Equine Dreams is staffed by a large group of volunteers that includes six registered and one advanced NARHA Therapeutic Riding Instructors, who also have professional degrees in Physical Therapy with a specialty in Hippotherapy, Occupational Therapy, and Audiology.
Volunteer run and donation driven.