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October 30, 2010

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October 30, 2010

I am a physical therapist and also currently volunteer and assist with this fantastic program. Horses are an incredible therapeutic tool due to their movement which is quite similiar to that of a walking human. RIders with physical disabilities can experience the dynamic movement forward that many have never felt! And what an amazing feeling to control a 1000 lb animal when so many areas of these rider's lives are out of their control.

The Great!

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

Santa Rosa, CA

Ways to make it better...

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

I would like to add Hippotherapy to the program which is using the horse's movement to facilitate improvement in the patient/rider

October 30, 2010

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October 30, 2010

My autistic daughter is 17 years old and has been riding horses at Equi-ed for the past 10 years. It's a highlight of her week. In addition to having fun, riding has taught her patience and control of her body. She's learned to control the horse independently and is quite proud of her ability to do so. She has limited language, but knows "walk on," "trot," "whoa," "helmet," "reins."

The Great!

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

As above

Ways to make it better...

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

Get the word out...

October 30, 2010

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October 30, 2010

I like going to Equi-Ed to learn horse riding skills and vaulting skills. They let me volunteer by having me help do barn activities. This experience helps me with my physical balance and personal confidence. My dream is to participate in competitions.

The Great!

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

The experience of riding and vaulting on a horse helps improve my body strength and coordination.

Ways to make it better...

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

have more competitions available to the students.

October 30, 2010

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October 30, 2010

As the founder, Executive Director and one of the instructors at Equi-Ed it is my daily experience to come together with a group of volunteers, students, parents, caretakers and fellow staff that are the most positive, dedicated and motivated people I know. Besides the physical benefits our incredible horses provide to our students, we also have a strong emphasis on life-long educational opportunities for everyone involved. Our affiliation with Santa Rosa Junior College Equine Science and Adapted Physical Education departments helps in the attainment of that part of our Mission statement. Each of our students, from 4 through adulthood receive individualized instruction, provided by instructors whose credentials and experience surpass the basic nationally excepted standard. Lessons are designed to maximize independence while being stimulating, challenging and FUN! ;all the while maintaining the upmost emphasis on safety. I love working and teaching at Equi-Ed; the combination of horses and people gives me inspiration and an energy that never wanes.

The Great!

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

The positive effects on students and feeling of well-being experienced by everyone.

Ways to make it better...

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

Have our own facility with a covered arena, and an endowment to secure program operations including student scholarships.

October 30, 2010

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October 30, 2010

My daughter developed hydrocephalus after surgery when she was an infant and has challenges with coordination and balance. One measure of the success of the program for her is that she has stuck with it for 10 years and is motivated to work to pay for her lessons. She says she loves the challenge of controlling the horse and likes the feeling of being so tall. She also greatly enjoys the relationships she has developed with the volunteers and staff.

The Great!

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

..the love my daughter has for equi-ed. Also it is refreshing to spend time in the country working with horses and to be part of an organization that provides so much and is so accepting.

Ways to make it better...

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

.. like to see it have a covered arena so that lessons could go on rain or shine.

October 29, 2010

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October 29, 2010

I have recently started volunteering at Equi-Ed once a week. I have really enjoyed my experience so far. The staff at Equi-Ed are great to be around. Every week I am being taught more and more about working with horses and the students. I especially enjoy seeing the students gain mastery and I love seeing their smiles while with the horses. The instructors do a great job of meeting each student on their level and they are creative in the lesson times. Each lesson is different and interesting in order to keep the student is intrigued. The instructors are very creative in coming up with games that not only work on therapeutic riding skills but are also educational. The program is well organized and there is a camaraderie between those that work and volunteer there. The horses are very well taken care of and are great with the students. Safety plays a very important roll in the operation of Equi-Ed, which makes me feel safer as a volunteer. The location of the program is serene and it is so enjoyable to come each week to volunteer.

The Great!

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

My five year old niece who has autism has taken lessons at Equi-Ed. While my niece was on the horse riding, she was happy and there was a light in her eyes. She also responded verbally more frequently than usual. I believe that the riding lessons have also helped develop her core muscles and has helped her with balance. I was especially impressed with the way the instructor kept my niece's focus and was patient and flexible. The instructors know how to effectively teach each student.

Ways to make it better...

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

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would make sure that if was fully funded without limitations to needed items.

October 23, 2010

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October 23, 2010

Our daughter has been riding at Equi-ed for over three years now. We were so happy to have found this wonderful place! She had previously been enrolled in therapeutic riding at another facility, but was told she had gone as far as she could. Being intellectually disabled, we all felt our daughter needed to continue her connection to riding, being with people who understood her, and of course, experiencing unconditional acceptance from these gentle horses. Equi-Ed provides all of the above and does so with expertise. Our daughter always looks forward to her lessons which improves her self-esteem immensely. The staff is amazing and everything our daughter learns from her riding instruction carries over to many other areas of her life. We are so grateful for this non-profit organization and hope that it can grow and expand with the generous support of others.

The Great!

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

seeing our daughter's improved self-esteem, coordination and attentional skills.

Ways to make it better...

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

build a covered arena so that Equi-Ed could continue to provide their very important work all year long.

October 22, 2010

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October 22, 2010

Equi-ed is an amazing program that changes lives on an hourly basis. I am a sign language interpreter and was introduced to the program when I was called to interpret a therapy riding class that a Deaf student was taking. The class had the great pleasure of having Max as the instructor and her energy can really fill a room. It's such a pleasure to interpret for someone who really believes in what they are saying. It was enlightening to get a grip on what therapy riding entailed through the videos and lectures. Another part of the class required a day trip to the facility where the work was being done to view and assist with the program. After arriving at the ranch and spending 6 hours, I was hooked. They announced that they were looking for volunteers and I signed up. I've been going every weekend since. It's definitely a highlite of my week. The clients and therapists come in and do their work on the horses, and lucky me, I get to be a part of it all. I get to witness firsthand the connections, the barriers that are conquered, and the smiles the size of Texas on the faces of the riders. I help out by cleaning the stalls, grooming horses, being a sidewalker and now I'm being trained to be a horse handler. It's truly a privilege to be able to be a part of something that creates positive change immediately. I hope the word gets out and more people have the chance to be a part of this life changing program. This program isn't only healing the disabled clients. I can honestly say that as a non-disabled volunteer, my life has changed as a result of this program. The benefits are not only in the arena, but there's a sense of pride that I carry with me all week knowing that I get a chance to be a part of something truly amazing.

The Great!

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

watching the faces of the riders before, during and after a ride. I get to be there when disabled riders confront and conquer barriers in their lives. I get to meet the families and hear the stories of personal triumph. I get to see professional, dedicated therapists and trainers doing their life's work. What could be better?

Ways to make it better...

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

find an amazing PR person and a fundraiser. If this organization had a person who could really get the message out to the world about what is happening in this small organization, I think it would be awesome, and the community would flock to support it. I think the one thing this organization lacks is a person who has the time to dedicate solely to fundraising and grants..

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

I can't think of anything. They are great. As a volunteer, I feel supported and valued.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Yes, it allowed me a chance to work outside of my career in a totally new field that impacted lives. It's awesome.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

I felt really fortunate to be able to be a part of something so important.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 20, 2010

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October 20, 2010

I have volunteered with Equi-Ed for 5 years. During that time, I was not allowed to work with the students, as I have some disabilities of my own. I have helped care for the horses, while watching the students in their lessons. While volunteering at the fund raisers and at seasonal parties for the students, I have talked to students, and heard how much they love the horses, how much the riding has helped them, how much they look forward to the lessons. Over these 5 years I have seen the improvement in the students' abilities. I am impressed with the stress on the safety of the students, whether they are in a lesson, or attending a party at the barn. The volunteers are taught safety in all aspects of their activities. The focus on education is something many riding programs for the handicapped do not include. Students learn about the history of horses, learn ways to encorporate horse art into projects that win prizes at local county fairs, and gain a sense of accomplishment apart from their riding. Their self-esteem rises with every lesson. The fact that this program was begun by teachers has shaped the format into a unique experience for the students. Northern California is fortunate to be home to this program.

The Great!

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

watching the improved physical and emotional activity of the students

Ways to make it better...

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

encourage volunteers to make a long term commitment to Equi-Ed, considering it as a life-long opportunity to help their community.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Made me realize how isolated most individuals with disabilities can be. This program allows these individuals to socialize with all types of people while learning and improving their skills.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

As if I am putting my religious beliefs into practical use.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 20, 2010

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October 20, 2010

I volunteered for Equi-Ed over 10 yrs ago and that wonderful experience helped shape my beliefs and attitudes that I still hold today regarding programs for the disabled. Even though Equi-Ed has changed so many lives of disabled individuals, it is very important to note that it also has a positive impact on those that work there. My experience ranged from working with children to adults of all ages but the results were always the same: people told me that they had a sense of freedom and well-being when riding a horse and that they were painfree - even if only for an hour. Children who could not speak or communicate in the conventional way conveyed their pleasure in such obvious ways - such a rewarding experience. The program continues to be very organized and positive for all of those involved and I have watched it evolve from a small non-profit to a very successful and much-needed one. We are so lucky to have such a valuable asset in our community.

The Great!

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

the faces of those benefitting.

Ways to make it better...

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

let it evolve as it has been.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Opened my eyes to the need of more programs for the disabled.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Very rewarded - like I was making a difference in someone's life.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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