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Happy Trails Therapeutic Horsemanship Center, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Children & Youth, Health, Rehabilitative Care, Youth Community Service Clubs

Mission: Happy Trails, founded in 1990, is offering a unique approach to helping children and adults with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. We are devoted to enhancing lives. Research shows that therapeutic riding can help individuals with impaired mobility by the gentle, rhythmical movement of the horse, which simulates the human walk. Individuals with learning disorders or mental disabilities, are motivated by riding to increase concentration, patience and discipline. All riders' benefit from increased self esteem, confidence and a better quality of life.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

Happy Trails is a definate God Send. I wish we had known about this therapy a little sooner, but I can't help but to feel it was just in time. Our son Brian was born with Cerebral Palsy and required a lot of physical therapy growing up. One added complication was an area of fluid on his spine that could have either stayed the same, changed for the worse or disappeared. Doctors had to keep an eye on the condition by putting him through an M.R.I. each year to be sure the area of fluid wasn't getting larger, since that possibility would have caused great trouble resulting in an operation to insert a drainage tube to drain the fluid to another part of his body. Every year it looked the same until the M.R.I. that was performed AFTER he started the hippo therapy at Happy Trails when he was four years old. That was the first reult showing that the fluid on his spine had DISAPPEARED!! And that was only the first miracle. The doctors were also concerned about Brian's hips. Because of the spasticity in his legs, and weakness in his trunk, Brian would tend to want to sit on his calves with his feet facing outward (scissor sitting) - a big no no. He had more stability sitting that way and it was very difficult redirecting him from that sitting position. Also, when standing, his tight tendons were causing his knees to pull inward because of the weak muscle tone. These combinations were wearing down his hip sockets in a bad way in spite of all of the dedication to common but beneficial physical therapy. Then he started therapy at Happy Trails and within that same year the doctors were still certain that he would need hip surgery, however, upon closer examination during the pre-operation M.R.I., it was revealed to them that Brian's hips were in better condition than they had expected, so the operation WAS CANCELLED!!! Now these two miracles may not seem that much to some people, but for Brian, they were huge milestones in his early life. Happy Trails saved Brian from surgery on his hips, and the "unknowns" of what could have arrisen from that fluid that used to be on his spine. And that's just what we have proof of. There are more unknowns that were prevented no doubt, but they didn't materialize since Brian stayed with the Happy Trails program for thirteen years into adulthood, and has since maintained his own therapy as an adult. The clients there at Happy Trails don't just sit on a horse (although just being up there sitting on a horse has it's own mental benefits), they work - even when they're playing they work, like when they throw a squishy ball through a basketball hoop over and over, or turning around to try to reach the horse's tail - it's like they thought of everything possible to get every benefit from that horse. I just can't say enough about the benefits of their program. I still voluteer there when I can. Thank you God for Happy Trails and for using those horses in such a powerfully healing way.