My love of horses and children is a perfect fit for this newly planted Canadian. I can't begin to explain or convey what the smiles of the children can do for you! Working with adults is a joy, they have become an extended part of my family.
I may be helping others, but in a favourably twist EC is helping ME!
I've been at Equestrian Connection for 4 years now. I've done 2 years of volunteering and 2 years of working. When I first started at EC everyone was so friendly and didn't treat me like that "special" kid. I was basically judged in high school based on my learning disabilities and EC just treated me like they treat each other. Everyone there makes me feel like we are all one big happy family and that is what EC is also about besides helping kids through adults but also making them feel that they are part of the EC family! :-)
My son who is autistic has been riding and doing art therapy at Equestrian Connection for four years. It is an incredibly warm, accepting environment with an amazing no-fail attitude. Even when most would have said riding was not for him, the staff persisted and now he can't wait to get on the horse. Through his art therapy, he has a voice.
I am part of a Multiple Sclerosis group of adults at EC. The physical and emotional improvements for each one of us has been astounding and include: balance, gait, core strength, cognition and confidence. MS strikes young adults usually between the ages of 25-50....the EC team has helped me cope with and improve my unexpectedly changing body.
The moment I drive through EC's decorated gates, my personal problems melt away, a smile appears on my face, and I am ready to help wherever I can. The atmosphere at EC is friendly, warm, loving, and safe, for all who enter, be it a volunteer, a staff member, family member coming for various services offered, or horse. I have made friends with people of all ages and backgrounds here. I can't think of a better, more enjoyable way to spend my volunteer time than at Equestrian Connection, NFP.
By focusing on the entire family of the rider, the warm natured people at Equestrian Connections literally saved my family's emotional health over a five year period. The staff and volunteers and the horses are extremely well trained and are chosen for something that just can not be taught - sincere compassion. My son had hippo therapy here which was covered by insurance. The art therapy was not covered but was worth every penny. Julie, the art therapist, helped my son process many feelings, especially after the death of his grandpa. I will forever be grateful to everyone at the barn.
My son has been riding weekly at Equestrian Connection for over two years. He has diplegic cerebral palsy and riding has helped his balance and to stretch out his very tight leg muscles. Working closely with the brilliant instructor - Linda - we have focused on strengthening and now James is able to do three laps of 'up-downs' on his moving pony. importantly he does this hard work and still has fun!
The horses are wonderful, the volunteers are caring and well trained and the atmosphere is one of compassion and fun.
Thank you everyone at Equestrian Connection :)
I find so much joy volunteering at Equestrian Connection. The staff and volunteers make me feel welcome. I can be having the worst day - but after a few minutes here - I am all smiles. EC's clients lift my spirits!! The good that this organization does for its clients is priceless.
As a Lake Forest College student majoring in Psychology, I was fortunate enough to do an internship at Equestrian Connection in the spring of 2011. My internship lasted the entire spring semester which was about five months. Throughout my internship I was at the barn about three days each week. Having prior experience with horses made it so after some training I was able to jump right into helping. From day one when I first walked into the barn at Equestrian Connection, I could tell that this wasn't your typical barn. I really cannot even put into words the feeling I got. One thing I noticed right away was that there wasn't a single person there helping who didn't want to be there, this was given away by the "Hello's" you'd receive from everyone and the constant smiles. With more time spent at the barn, I also learned that it is a place that is constantly growing. Someone is always asking "What other programs can we offer?, What else can we do to help our riders?"
I didn't realize just how many people are needed to make a non-for profit organization run. While the amount of work required is pretty unbelievable, what makes EC more special are the people behind the scenes. Diana, who cofounded EC back in 2001, goes above and beyond in all that she does with EC it's incredible, in my eyes shes a hero. Everyone involved at EC gives it their best, and I believe it's because of this that EC is the special place that it is. I have nothing negative to report about EC. The horses at EC are also extremely well taken care of and loved by all for the work they do.
I'm very thankful for all the time I was able to spend at EC. While my internship has ended, I try to make it back to the barn any chance I get.
Lake Forest College '12