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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Equi-Kids Therapeutic Riding Program

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Eating Disorders & Addictions, Equestrian, Mental Health, Sports

Mission: EQUI-KIDS serves more than 80 special needs individuals each week who have mental, physical, emotional, social or learning disabling conditions, including but not limited to; Down syndrome, autism, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, mental and physical disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and more.

Target demographics: With thousands of special needs individuals residing in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, EQUI-KIDS remains steadfast in our resolve to expand our therapeutic riding program within the disabled community. We have successfully increased ridership 15-25% each 8-week session with a goal to offer services to more than 100 riders per session.

Programs: The mission of equi-kids therapeutic riding program and its sister program, equi-vets service program, is to provide, promote, and support equine assisted activities for individuals who have mental, physical, emotional, social, or learning disabling conditions.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of horseback riding. The staff are amazing, especially the instructors. They truly want these riders to connect with the horses and feel joy in the experience--and they do! The program is very well run, with reliable volunteers and always excellent care for the horses and attention to safety for everyone.

1 Shannon B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equi-Kids is a GREAT place! The program is very organized and the riders are always happy. The lessons are always well planned and full of fun.

1 Kristabelle N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer for Equi-Kids Therapeutic Riding Program. It is an amazing non-profit program for children with special needs to be able to experience hippa-therapy in a safe, social and incredible fun environment. The staff members have been so great and very caring to the children and to us volunteer. Equi-Kids has also began a sister-program called Equi-Vets for our wounded warriors/veterans/retirees and their families. Equi-Kids also provides so many fun activities, such as barn sales and hound runs, all to support and enhance the mission and vision of the program. I feel very proud to be part of Equi-Kids.

1 Lucie R.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was able to visit Equi-Kids during my spring break. The university I attend had an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip located in the Virginia area and that was the non-profit location we decided to volunteer at. Our experience was beyond amazing. We were involved in many areas of volunteering. We mucked stalls and stables, painted and sealed sheds, performed side walker duties, and much more. Though the work was hard, it was very rewarding. Jennifer, the volunteer coordinator, Daryl, and Jamie were so expressive of their gratitude and let us know just how much of an impact we were making. They celebrated us and were very willing to accommodate our preferences. They were pleasant and friendly and opened up to us on a personal level that people don’t often bother to express. I love Equi-kids and though I don't live in Virginia, if and when I am in the area I will definitely drop in and muck a stall or two :)

1 Trudee W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at Equi-Kids last year, and I have nothing but good things to say about it! As a horse rider myself, it is so nice to be able to use my horse skills to help those with disabilities learn the stuff that I know. The facilities at Equi-Kids are absolutely beautiful! The horses are very well tempered with the riders and volunteers. The riders are so cooperative and it is so easy to see the happiness they feel when mounted on a horse. Sometimes, I side-walk for lessons, and other times I am a horse leader. Either way, I am having a wonderful time! The instructor for the lessons changes, but whoever it is always has the riders learning new things and interacting with their horse. I have personally been able to see improvements in the riders just after one week! Everybody at the barn is always happy and ready to help. It is such a great place to be!

1 Patty R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at EquiKids for 5 years. EquiKids is hands down the most rewarding thing I have ever done. The staff, the volunteers, instructors, riders and their families get to share in such an inspiring journey together, it is simply amazing . I never miss a chance to tell my friends, family and co-workers what a caring organization EquiKids is. I walk into the barn, hear the nickers from the horses ( the best horses in Virginia) and friendly chatter among the volunteers and staff, and I truly feel like I belong, that I'm welcome, and I am appreciated. Thank you EquiKids for creating a safe teaching environment for our community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I,ve been a volunteer at Equi Kids for apps.9 years. Through the years I,ve seen Equi Kids grow into what is now a top rated facility. it is heart warming to see children of all ages responding to the instructors, the volunteers and the horses as well as the volunteers interacting with the riders.

Equi Kids is a place where you can make a diffrence both in the lives of others and in your personal life as well.

I was volunteering in a school partnership program and some of the children from this particular school had never been in a barn or even seen a real live horse. They were scared silly yet by the end of their eight week session they didn't want to get off the horse! What a celebration we had....does a body good! There are too many stories to tell that would bring you to tears and I mean happy tears..... You have to see for yourself!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to volunteer and received so much joy each and every time I volunteered. Equi-Kids' facility is such a wonderful home for the horses. The horses are cared for lovingly. The added joy is seeing the excitement on the faces of those that are part of the lessons. Such special people that have the opportunity to enjoy the comfort of a horse. It was such a transformation as they got on their horse. It often brought tears to my eyes as I was able to experience this every time I walked along with them and the horse. The Horses are incredible as they seem to sense their role in opening the world to these special people.

1 Lauren F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at Equi-Kids for over a year, and it is by far the cleanest, coolest, and most inspirational barn I have ever been to. I've grown so much as a person, working alongside the horses and the wonderful riders. All of the staff and volunteers are great people at heart, and it's a wonderful organization that deserves praise. I hope to continue helping out and doing what I can for this fantastic place.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Equi-kids has been an important part of my daughter Lillian's life for several years now. Everything is amazing there, but most importantly, the people. Those volunteers who have worked with Lillian know how much she loves her time on the horses.
The feeling of freedom is what I think is the best for Lillian. As parents of a special needs child who requires assistance with most everything, it's so wonderful to have an organization like Equi-kids that she can participate in.
Thank you all,
David, Rachel, and Lillian

Vikki T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a sidewalker volunteer since the new facility opened in 2009. I enjoyed the training that was given before I started. Everything is organized so the volunteers know what to expect before the riders show up and then the lesson is also organized so the riders may enjoy their session. I love being able to interact with the same riders each week and get to know them and their families a little bit better. Equi Kids is a beautiful and well cared for facility that really tries hard to provide a wonderful service for disabled children and now vets!

Patti O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Bella received top notch NAHRA instruction at the BEAUTIFUL facility. Her love of horses and abilities have grown with each lesson.

Ivy K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

everybody is so nice. i like the good communication skills they have. it lets me know when to come in to ride or not. the trainers have smart ideas to help me better ride.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with EquiKids since January of 2011. I believe this program is one of the BEST I have ever been involved with and i volunteer a lot. The positive changes I have seen in not only the students, but in the other volunteers and fellow staff members is just overwhelming. The relationships that are forged in this program are those that I am sure will last a lifetime for many of the people involved with this program. EquiKids not only focuses on each student's own personal needs, but they make everything fun in an open environment which encourages learning, exploring, self-confidence and so many other positive things.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started to volunteer at Equikids a year ago and it is the best experience and good feeling I could have added to my life. I have always been a believer of helping out and giving back at every opportunity and have found that being able to help the students and Equikids has given back to me. I look forward to my evening class and know that no matter how hard my day was I will end it with a smile and feeling great.
The team at Equikids is passionate and caring about the entire program from the students to volunteers, neighborhood and community. It is always a pleasure to see Jennifer, Cathy and Jill when we are at the barn. They always greet you with a smile and are happy to help in any way possibly.
I reccomend Equikids on a daily or weekly basis to everyone I talk to as either a way to volunteer, donate or to help a special needs child or adult. We are very lucky to have this program and these wonderful people in our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On my first volunteer session, I witnessed what the Equi-Kids program was all about. The young rider came out into the ring and mounted the platform, but when it came time to mount the horse, the rider wouldn't go near the horse, wouldn't touch it and continued to walk away. However, you could see that the rider wanted to ride but couldn't overcome the anxiety. I witnessed the instructors calm and patient encouragement at different increments while observing the rider's ability. At the end of 50 minutes, this rider actually touched the horse, walked the horse with the rein, and rode the horse. While on the horse, the rider was very calm and confident. It was amazing and joyous to watch the transformation. That is what this program is all about!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We specifically moved to Heritage Park so we could not only live where Equi Kids facility, so we could be apart of such a wonderful program . The Professional caring staff always make you feel very appreciative even if you can only give 30 minutes to help set up for an event.
Its the total package there Facility, Programs, Staff and those wonderful Horses!!

Shannon A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Equi-Kids for over a year. I volunteer at their facility once a week, and it is the highlight of my week! The horses are all very well cared for, and the instructors and trainers are knowledgeable and professional. I love watching the participants learning new things and having fun while riding.

Patricia R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff and volunteers are all very kind and supportive of the child participating as well as the families. The horses are wonderful therapeutic animals for those with special needs. Cathy Chitwood and Jamie Link known to go above and beyond the call of duty in giving their assistance on many occasions. This is a good program and serves the needs of the community very well and with a great attitude.