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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Equi-Ed, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Birth Defects & Genetic Diseases, Education, Equestrian, Health, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Special Education, Sports

Mission: Equi-Ed has used the therapeutic power of the horse to enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities since 1993. Equi-Ed's Goals: ~ Enhance each student’s educational plan through coordination with school staff and the implementation of activities which support achievement in basic subjects and pre-vocational skills. ~ Improve the students physical, medical, social, and emotional well being through interaction with specially selected horses, in a positive environment which encourages involvement and caring between disabled and non-disabled individuals. ~ Stimulate awareness and understanding of the efficacy of therapeutic riding. ~ Provide professional development and training for individuals in the therapeutic riding industry.

Target demographics: Ages 4 and up

Programs: Equi-Ed offers therapeutic riding, vaulting, horsemanship and competition opportunities to its students.

Community Stories

68 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While Equi-Ed Therapeutic Equestrian program is non-profit, the value to the people they serve is priceless. They are changing lives through the students interaction with horses, the the instructor, and the other riders.
I have volunteered with many organizations, but Equi-Ed is in a class by itself. I am privileged to volunteer as a horse handler, I feed once a week, provide barn help as I am able for various projects, and am a member of the board. I get to see first hand the caring attention to the safety and well being of the riders, horses and volunteers. The instructors are very creative in coming up with fun, safe ways to engage the riders and help them achieve their goals. The staff also works very hard to make sure each horse gets the proper care, exercise, feed and farrier/vet care they need.
Whether you are interested in a Therapeutic Equestrian Program for someone in your life, or if you have a heart to serve with one of the best organizations, it is worth learning more about Equi-Ed, and be sure to let others know about Equi-Ed!

1 Deb_63

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our adult son with special needs has been taking riding lessons at Equi-Ed for many, many years. Although he has not progressed as fast as other riders have due to his significant challenges which are increasing, Equi-Ed continues to play an invaluable role in his life. He has to travel a long distance to get to Equi-Ed each week but we believe what Equi-Ed provides is worth it. The staff and volunteers are caring, patient, supportive, and well-trained. The horses are gentle and equally as patient. Every relationship in our son's life is a treasure and there is much to treasure in this stellar non-profit.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was a working farrier and Paso Fino trainer, I would always discount my services to Equi –Ed because I felt that they were doing so much good for their clients. Little did I know that my career would come to an end when in 2005, I lost my ability to walk and was diagnosed with MS and became an Equi-Ed client myself. When Max and her crew put me on an Equi-ed horse and lead me about the arena, I was amazed how it gave the sensation of walking. It was as if the horse’s legs were an extension of my own and my focus became one of maintaining balance. Straddling the saddle was in itself a therapeutic exercise. After dismount my legs would always feel stronger somehow. For me, just the touch of the horse, feeling the warmth of his breath and velvety softness of his muzzle gave me an exhilarating feeling that stayed with me for days.
Thank you Equi-Ed for the work that you do.

1 Susan P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Equi-ed has been a place of learning and acceptance for our daughter who is intellectually disabled. For the past 10 years, Equi-Ed has provided a safe and fun environment where she can gain skills, not just in riding horses, but in following instructions, working on balance and core strength, and using communication skills with instructors as well as horses. Equi-Ed is a unique non-profit in that it benefits a range of students with a variety of abilities and allows all participants to gain self-confidence and skills in horsemanship. It is a special place, indeed!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

Equi-Ed has been a part of our daughter's life for over 7 years now. In spite of cognitive disabilities, she is able to ride horses at Equi-Ed competently, demonstrate the ability to follow directions, and connect with these gentle animals in a way that empowers her on a weekly basis. The staff at Equi-Ed is knowledgeable, patient and accepting of differences. I would highly recommend this incredible program to children and adults alike! Equi-Ed is a place where amazing things happen...and lives are changed!

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Equi-Ed is a therapeutic horseback riding facility that works with clients of all ages that have a disability of some sort. It is truly a pleasure to volunteer for them as they are amazing with their clients giving them the support, encouragement, and confidence they need to participate in the horseback riding classes. The instructors and the support staff are very knowledgeable about what needs to be done to give clients what they need to succeed. This is truly a wonderful and much needed nonprofit.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An amazing and devoted team work with a herd of happy, healthy horses. The students are excited and eager to be there. Truly a great non profit.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked at Equi Ed for the last three years, riding and caring for the horses. I have also volunteered in lessons and helped with various events Equi Ed has put on. This is truly a place that changes lives. It is a heartwarming experience to help with lessons and to see the incredible changes in the students. Equi Ed's care and attention to detail is second to none, and the riders are ensured a safe and happy experience every time. I highly recommend becoming a part of this program and experiencing firsthand all the benefits. You will never leave the barn in a bad mood!

1 Debby L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was looking for a volunteer opportunity when someone told me about equi-ed and how it can help the handicapped. I know how my day improves when I go out to the ranch and 'commune' with the horses so, understood how riding could help not only physically but emotionally. I have now been volunteering for several years, and seen the joy, confidence and physical benefits riding gives to the riders. The English proverb, "There is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse. " is so true.
I'm also impressed with the great care the horses receive and with the horses themselves. It takes a special horse to do their job.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at Equi-Ed a few months ago and find it very rewarding. It is so nice to work with people who care so much about those being served. It's a joy to watch the lessons. I also appreciate the wonderful care given to the horses.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a new volunteer and am so impressed with all the individuals that keep this program going. It takes a lot of very work every day -- and they do it. Probably most important, however, is the care that is given to each student. The satisfaction these students receive from their accomplishments in this program is very evident.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the program in a professional capacity for over 13 years. The level of knowledge and experience is top notch. Education, safety and fun are always top priorities. Equi-Ed has served as a model for many other therapeutic riding programs.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved in the field of therapeutic riding since 1998 and I have been involved with Equi-Ed as a staff member since 2003. What has kept me here so long you may ask? An amazing community of people-volunteers, fellow staff, parents and students! I am so privileged to be a part of this organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer and a board member, since 2014. I've also donated a Haflinger pony to the program, and he is doing very well there, and showing all who participate and observe, what the therapeutic power of the horse can do for people of all abilities. Equi-Ed does a tremendous service for its students and is run as tightly as any non-profit I've ever worked with. I've seen students walk better, have better balance, better fine and gross motor skills, and even begin to use words and converse, after their riding experiences. Simply the best!

Erika23

Client Served

Rating: 5

Equi-Ed is a life-saver! They give my daughter the opportunity to be challenged in a supportive environment. She has developed much more confidence in herself thanks to the work she's done with the horses and teachers. Equi-Ed has become an integral part of my daughter's therapy. We don't know what we'd do without them!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a parent of a child taking lessons at Equi-Ed right now. My daughter has gained a huge amount of confidence and is much better at dealing with her emotions. All of the therapies we have tried over the last three years have not even come close to the results we've seen with therapeutic horse back riding at Equi-Ed. Truly, they have helped our entire family. We will be forever indebted to Shelia, Max, Sade, and all of the volunteers who make Equi-Ed possible.

2 marshah1223

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found Equi-Ed through my Military support group which I had been attending as a physically disabled veteran. I have MS, (multiple sclerosis), which is an Acquired Brain Damage disease causing less ability in deductive reasoning and thinking; muscle spasms and lack of balance. As all of these things happened to me. I became more and more depressed.

I had ridden with an equestrian therapy program for a short while before I was as disabled as I am now, so I was a little afraid to try. I came out and met all the folks that work and volunteer out there, and they wholeheartedly convinced me to do it! I came back happier with a whole different outlook! They helped me! I got better! I gained confidence and strength! I really felt like a part of a team and not a burden to be led around on a horse; I was riding and in command of my horse. Equi-Ed is such a big part of what I do now, that I work out at the gym to be strong for my next ride. They give love, lessons and help from the heart!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son with Asperger's (high functioning autism) has been riding with Equi-Ed for two sessions. He didn't really get into the usual team or individual sports, but loves horseback riding and is always happy about going to his lessons. The walking motion of the horse has a calming effect on him and he usually falls asleep in the car after his lesson. He really loves it when he gets to trot on the horse. It puts a big smile on his face. His goal is to be able to take the reins and direct the horse on his own while walking and trotting. The staff are patient with him and carefully instruct him in safety and communication with the horse and volunteers. They also offer many other ways to be involved as a client from holiday parades, to parties and barbeques, fund raising activities, and movie nights! It is fun to be a part of the Equi-Ed "family". Thank you Equi-Ed!!

1 Jenn15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The staff at Equi-Ed have far surpassed my expectations as a charitable organization. They are thoughtful in their day to day activities. Keep safety for the clients, staff, and horses at their forefront. They are clearly making an impact in the lives of those that choose to spend time at the facility. I'm so grateful for the training they have given me and opportunity to take part as a volunteer. Each and everyday I'm learning at the gentle and patient hand of our leaders.

1 skoch14

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having been involved in the horse industry for many years and having had some previous experience with another therapeutic riding center, I can confidently say that Equi-Ed is a fantastic program. Not only is it a great place for the students but it's also a wonderful place for the horses, volunteers, and staff. Equi-Ed staff always ensures the utmost safety of the students and horses while making it a fun and enriching environment for everyone involved. The students are always stimulated with new and exciting lesson activities while being able to enjoy the comradery of their equine companions. The horses are taken care of very well and the staff goes to great efforts to make sure the horses are healthy and happy at all times.

1 Heather181

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Equi Ed from several months and I enjoy the interactions with the horses and students. I love watching the lessons and the care that the staff and volunteers put into the care of the horses and the people.

1 Mary298

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about Equi-Ed and the life changing impact it has on everyone, from the students and their families, to the volunteers.
From day one, as a new volunteer, you are taught through the extensive orientation how to do everything safely. It gives you a new awareness to do all you do with a mind to the safety of the horses and people around you. This awareness becomes a part of you, not only at the barn, but in your everyday lives.
Since first learning about therapeutic horseback riding in high school, it has been a dream of mine to be involved. I was so thrilled to learn about Equi-Ed, and began volunteering just over a year ago. It is truly awesome to be able to witness the interaction of the horses and riders, and to see the confidence and skills building from lesson to lesson. The instructors are exceptional and highly qualified to taylor each lesson to the needs and goals of the student.
Equi-ed is the place to be! As a student, volunteer or supporter, you know you are a part of making a positive difference in countless lives!

1 Karen299

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son went from a timid boy to a confident boy through his participation in the Eqi-Ed therapeutic riding program. All the volunteers are kind and knowledgable. The staff build in opportunities for kids to work on IEP academic goals. Equi-Ed is the best!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with several therapeutic riding programs in the past and Equi-Ed holds its staff and volunteers to a higher standard than any other I've known. It is all about quality instruction for students, quality care for the horses and ongoing educational opportunities for everyone involved.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Therapeutic riding has a proved track record of benefiting clients with a wide number of emotional, behavioral, or physical issues. The key to it being an exceptional program has to do with having the dedication and commitment from the staff and volunteers AND wonderful equine partners. Many will talk about the human component in this therapy but the horses are the stars and these horses are well cared for. Equi-Ed also does an amazing job in striving to keep the horses, the riders, and the human handlers safe. The training they provide their volunteers is top notch and is there to insure the best outcome for everyone. I am honored to be a volunteer at Equi-Ed.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Equi-Ed provides my autistic daughter with an activity that she loves, that builds her sense of independence and accomplishment. She has been riding with Equi-Ed for 14 years!! We love it!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Since being served by Equi-Ed my daughter has made huge gains with her speech, attention and posture. She lights up every time we pull up the barn. Thank you Equi-Ed!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Equi-Ed for over 5 years now and just love it. I started helping in lessons and was immediately touched by the interaction of students, horses and of course the amazing instructors. Life has changed a bit for me so I now volunteer in a smaller capacity by feeding and cleaning every other Sunday. However, I could not imagine my life without this wonderful organization. I enjoy my time with these incredible horses. How humbling it is to see these big animals be so gentle with their riders and enhance life for those with struggles. I am in awe of the staff who master every day with strength, patience and unlimited kindness. We are so fortunate to have such a resource in our County!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equi-Ed, Inc. is an incredible organization which provides a wonderful opportunity to volunteer in a place that enriches the lives of so many with disabilities. Through a friend I heard about Equi-Ed and I thought I would see if I could help out. I had a personal loss in my life and needed something to fill a great void. With my love for horses and the need to give something back, I decided to try it out. This was over a year ago and I must say I will never be able to give as much as I receive from this outstanding organization. The people who run Equi-Ed are remarkable and inspire me to no end. We have such wonderful volunteers too. Young or not so young we are all there because we feel this place is special and we care about what it provides to so many. The location is stunning in its setting and the peace you feel there stays with you. The horses are incredible and being treated with love, care and great knowledge by staff and volunteers. These gentle animals are used in the lessons after they have been carefully selected and trained. I get to help out in lessons with the children as a horse leader or spotter. It is amazing to see these horses and individuals with disabilities work together. I get very humble and suddenly my daily gripes are just not important anymore, I realize how fortunate I am, and how wonderful life is even with hardship in it. Since Equi-Ed relies on volunteers for horse care as well, I get to feed the horses on Sunday mornings. The program is very well organized and runs so smooth. Thanks to great communication among staff and volunteers lessons are provided during the week and on Saturdays. I am honored to participate in any way needed. I hope Equi-Ed gets the recognition it deserves so very much and with that hopefully more people become aware of this great organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a current volunteer with Equi-Ed and can't wait to be up there each week. What I love:
*Volunteers are required to complete extensive training (16+ hours in total) & update each year.
*Consistency of methods / barn rules for safety of students, volunteers/staff, and horses.
*Staff are wonderful and forces of nature! Watching them work is amazing; their knowledge and techniques, humor and patience. More experienced volunteers are friendly and helpful.
*Most of all, students are awe inspiring and it humbles me to be a part of their learning each week.

:-)

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the parent of one of the children who took lessons from Equi-Ed. My daughter also volunteered. THe program is terrific and my daughter finally found friends she could relate to as she was having a very difficult time at school. The horses, instructors, and volunteers gave her much needed confidence which helped her greatly in school. She loved the program. I am very grateful for programs like these.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is a special needs child and she started Equi-Ed a couple of years ago. I had heart about the organization at a Santa Rosa Junior College event. IT sounded perfect for my daughter and she had a wonderful time. The horses are terrific and the volunteers are more terrific. She was also with children like herself and could be herself. At regular school she was picked on quite a bit so this was a blessing for her. She is now in high school and doing sports, etc and I feel Equi-Ed gave her the ability to believe in herself.

Jacqi A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been with Equi Ed for almost a year and it has been a total pleasure working with the entire Equi Ed Team. My son was instantly comfortable with the volunteers and has enjoyed every lesson. They are kind, caring and very patient with him. We have seen huge gains with him and his engagement with others as well as speech. We will not only continue to work with them but we would recommend them to our friends!

1 Mountain A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I started off as a client of Equi-Ed, by way of the Adapted PE Dept at SRJC. I had a brain surgery that changed me and my balance, hearing, coordination, view of myself, confidence, quite a few things changed in my life for me. I really took to the horses, staff, classmates and they liked me! We all had such a great time that semester! My balance became steadier, my coordination grew, things got better. It wasn't quick, like in the movies, but I did Improvise, Adapt, Modify, Overcome! I saw and felt how great this program was that I took the Volunteer Class and became a Volunteer. I admired so much how the Volunteers had helped me. I wished and hoped I could be like them. I could start off as a Sidewalker for students and work in the barns with the horses. Just like being a client, I copied everyone until I had it down for myself. Earning the right to Volunteer was a huge self esteem boost and confidence builder for me. Today, I wish I lived closer so I could come in and help more at Equi-Ed. I am a different person now, I am doing much better.....No other program/therapy/activity I have done has given me what Equi-Ed has given back to me. My life really changed for the positive the first day I was a client. Thank you to every single person for all your kind help. Sincere heartfelt appreciation for every horse.

1 Christine56

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been a client with Equi-Ed since he was 3 years old; he is now 9 years old and still loves it! They perform an amazing service to kids with special needs and I feel the volunteers get a lot of out of it too! This is a small organization with a big heart :) They have a wonderful riding program and I have seen what it does for my son. He used to be afraid of all animals and I think he has finally learned to appreciate animals and not fear them. In addition my son had very low tone and his core strength was very weak. I do feel that in addition to other therapies, horseback sessions with Equi-Ed made a difference in his core strength. He is more social and interactive then when he first started and has smile when he's there riding. The volunteers are amazing and they give their heart and soul to these kids and the horses. They make you feel like part of the family by offering opportunities to volunteer and hold many events for everyone to come and support the organization: BBQs, auctions, the tractor parade in Calistoga, and so much more. I highly recommend them for your son or daughter.

1 Jackie W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I stumbled upon Equi Ed while looking for somewhere to take horseback riding lessons. Little did I know that I was embarking on a life-changing adventure! I've been volunteering for Equi Ed for about 5 months now and I can honestly say that this program has made a huge impact on my life in such a short time. The work that Equi Ed does with it's students is truly inspiring. As a volunteer, we are able to see first hand how riding horses can have a positive impact on someone with a physical or mental disability. The horses are amazing animals that truly work hard and make a difference in so many lives. The staff and volunteers are absolutely amazing at what they do and put in countless hours to make sure the program is run efficiently and the horses are properly cared for. I absolutely lie being part of such an amazing team and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything!

1 Jan_19

Donor

Rating: 5

I donated a wonderful, dependable, sweet, and well trained (I blush) Haflinger gelding, Mike, to Equi-Ed. I was so impresssed with Maxine and the volunteers and students that I felt my little horse could do big things for the program. I'm committed to staying in Mike's (the horse's) life, helping provide driving hours for interested volunteers and helping develop a driving program for Equi-Ed. I've also donated funds because I know first-hand how much horse care costs, and I belive strongly that horses have a unique capacity to teach life lessons and to heal.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I took Equi-Ed for 3 years because it helped me build my confidence level and self-esteem. I was having trouble with people making fun at me in Middle School and I was feeling real bad about myself. My parents felt that since I like horses this program would be a big help for me. I felt that it was great because I met people like myself and nobody judged me. The kids that I met were friendly and respectful. Sheila and Max are the most amazing and wonderful leaders of this organization that I ever met. After I finished my lessons I decided to Volunteer and I did that for a year. I had a wonderful time and it was a great experience.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have first hand knowledge of what it takes to have the heart, drive and patience to be in this field. Each and every time I visit Equi-Ed, their program reminds me of why I am here. The joy and satisfaction I get from seeing the smiles and the light in every individuals eye's that is helped in some way by this program re-invigerates me and keeps me going. Equi-Ed helps us all on many levels!

Joanne15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I could write VOLUMES about all the wonderful things that Equi-Ed is. In short though, the Directors and instructors ROCK. Their attention to safety, details, education, fun, and happiness is above and beyond. Never have I met such a selfless group. It is life changing watching the students grow in strength and self-esteem while learing, exercising and having fun. They are the true meaning of champions!

Laurie

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter started therapeutic riding with Equi-Ed about 3 years ago. The staff has always been amazingly accommodating to her needs & our varying schedule. They are kind, yet just tough enough & always seem to know just how far to push her so she can succeed. Since starting with Equi-Ed, her self-esteem & confidence have grown. We see her try new things with a feeling that she will succeed. Her posture & balance have also benefited. We have great appreciation for everyone at Equi-Ed: Max & Sheila, the volunteers, & of course the extremely patient horses!

Previous Stories
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Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has ridden at Equi-Ed for the past 3 years. During that time, we have seen an improvement in her social skills, math skills & best of all, her confidence. She loves the horses & all the people that work with her. She is treated with respect, kindness, & as a valuable person. We can't recommend this program enough.

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