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February 9, 2010

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February 9, 2010

Edelweiss is a great opportunity for riders and volunteers. They are able to take children and adults with disabilities, put them on a horse, and take them to a whole new world the rider has never experienced. One parent said, "Therapeutic Riding has taken kids farther than just around a horse ring, but out of a world of isolation and silence." Edelweiss is beginning to venture into Equine Assisted Learning, an education program for alternative learners, those with challenges, and students that are at-risk in their home situation.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the reactions of the riders and the parents of those who participate. First words, sitting up tall for the first time, smiling when they accomplish a new skill, and the incrediable power and unconditional love of a horse.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

spend 24 hours a day raising money. As with all non-profits at this time, Edelweiss is feeling the crunch of less income, more expenses. In order to serve the people on their waiting list, they need more horses. More horses cause more expenses.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the horses, first of all. They are majestic, loving, and very careful with their riders who are challenged mentally, physically, emotionally, behaviorally, or socially. After that, I love working with the riders. They are so greatful for any help.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

gracious and giving. Some of them work for free. When the Center first opened their wasn't money for anyone in the office or the arena. I don't think you would work that hard with horses and people with disabilities unless you had a heart/love for others.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

find 30 acres of land, build a state-of-the-art indoor riding facility with dust control, run all year around, and begin more classes for challenged people and others who would benefit from lessons on and off the horse.

Ways to make it better...

I was able to donate more time. My schedule limited me to only volunteering for one class per week and sometimes horse shows on the weekend. I wish I could have worked with more riders and helped them acheive their individual goals.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

land availablity, seasonal operation, finding safe/quality horses, and the increasing cost of horse care, workers comp, and liability insurance. Only two cuttings of hay were put up this year, so some funds are being spent on unbudgeted food expenses.

One thing I'd also say is that...

you have to see this program in person to get the true passion of the horse, rider, instructor, and volunteer working as a team. They can provide photos, vidoe, u-tube, etc., but you don't get the feeling of true glory without being on the property.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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