I started volunteering here about 7 months ago. I love working with the kids and the instructors are wonderful to work with. I feel I get just as much out of these lessons as the riders do by learning more about their different levels of ability, how the horses interact with and help their riders, and by getting to know the riders personally.
I have volunteered at Hope Springs for the past year. I have helped out with lessons, camps, unmounted programs, and shows. In every interaction the students have had with the horses, they have grown and developed both physically and mentally. The instructors work diligently and gently with the students to ensure they get the most out of their experience yet ensure they enjoy the experience. Of all the places I have volunteered, Hope Springs is the place where I felt I have made the biggest difference in the lives of others.
My sister, who has high functioning autism, began riding at Hope Springs when she was 6. She has grown so much as a person as a result. Hope Springs has improved her communication skills with other people and taught her how to interact with animals. She has something to look forward to every week and a very supportive environment in which to ride. I started volunteering at Hope Springs a little over 4 years ago. I have helped many students and watched them grow. I have seen them become more confident over the years of riding at Hope Springs.
As I signed up to volunteer at Hope Springs, I did not realize how much of a commitment I would make to this organization. I spend roughly 5 hours a week helping children with disabilities. I love working with all of the instructors because they all have something different to teach their students and work with them in such a personal way that makes the lesson feel welcoming rather than just a horseback riding lesson. The instructors are all patient and have a good sense of humor in tough lessons. I love devoting my spare time to helping with as many lessons as I can to make sure that every student receives these great therapeutic riding services. Hope Springs has me to an interest in special education as a career option and grow a genuine love for working with disabled children.
Hope Springs is an amazing organization that services people with physical and cognitive disabilities in Chester County. Therapeutic horseback riding lessons are tailored to the individual rider consistently using the same horse, instructor, and volunteers. Riders gain physical strength but also gain independence and self-efficacy. There horses are amazing & so are the staff!
My name is Donna Condon and my son Christopher is 12 1/2 and we have had the pleasure of riding at Hope Springs for almost 4 years now and we couldn't be happier! When Jeannie Knowlton (Executive Director) asked if I would be able to speak at Hope Springs fundraiser, I was so humbled as it is a privilege to tell you how Hope Springs Therapeutic Riding program has helped my son.
Christopher has Autism and is nonverbal. Christopher actually started riding for therapy when he was 3 years old when we were living in New Jersey. However, after a year or two, we put the program on hold. When I moved back to Pennsylvania, I started to investigate therapeutic riding programs and came across Hope Springs. What was so special and unique about the program is they only offer their services to those individuals (children & adults) with disabilities. That was very important to me because I knew the instructors who would teach my son were specialized with all disabilities and would have the patience required, and they do! Everyone is so kind, loving and caring and as a mother, I can’t tell you how important that is to me!
I contacted Jeannie and she had us come out to the barn to meet her and the horses. She wanted to see how Christopher interacted with the horses and of course, he did great and then we began our sessions. I can't begin to tell you how much riding here at Hope Springs has helped Christopher. He has a low tone in his body and when we first started we had to have at least two volunteers along with the instructor because someone had to be along Christopher's side to help make sure that he wouldn't lean as his core muscles were weak and he could not sit up straight on the horse. Additionally, it's important to note that it’s not just pulling a horse around a ring or through the woods, he is being taught whether it’s his body parts (he did learn all of his body parts while riding), signing to “walk on”, holding the reins and many other things. Today, I am so proud to state that Christopher no longer requires a volunteer by his side, he can sit up straight and tall while riding Monte (his favorite horse) and his core muscles have increased immensely. His focus and attention while riding is outstanding, he is in tune with his surroundings and listens to the instructor. He is now pulling the reins back and advising Monte to stop, turning left and right and his favorite part is trotting….he loves the input he receives from bouncing up and down while trotting…it puts the biggest simile on his face.
I have said to Jeannie a few times that if I ever win the lottery, I want to give a large donation to Hope Springs so they can continue to help all individuals with all disabilities, the opportunity to ride, make new friends and most of all, have fun and be included!
I look forward to my son riding at Hope Springs for a very long time!
I have been riding at Hope Springs since 2002. Over the past 13 years I have enjoyed all my lessons at Hope Springs. My physical strength has greatly improved and my confidence level gets a boost every time I ride. The instructors are dedicated to their riders' well being and the care of all the wonderful therapy horses. I look forward to my lesson every week!
On my first day of volunteering at Hope Springs 9 years ago, I knew that this was going to be a wonderful organization to be involved with. I have seen the huge impact equestrian therapy can have on children and adults with disabilities. Kudos to the dedicated and talented staff, volunteers, and horses that work so hard to make a difference in the lives of each and every rider that comes to Hope Springs. It's a great feeling to be part of an organization like Hope Springs.
When we brought our daughter to Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy, we had the modest goals of building her upper body strength and improving her ability to communicate. We (and she) have gained this and so much more over the past 8 years. Her experiences at Hope Springs allowed our daughter to learn to read nonverbal cues and respond to them. She found her voice and gained the ability to be clearer in communication with her horse (and her humans). She learned to care for an animal that depends on her. And, surprisingly, she has felt pride (a feeling she rarely displays) in her progress in riding and in her accomplishments in dressage. When she started her lessons, our daughter was challenged to shift from home activities to the barn, and we had to pick her up and physically put her in the car. (Luckily she was a lightweight.) Now, she goes happily to a place where she can push herself, sometimes failing and more often succeeding—always knowing that Hope Springs is a safe, welcoming place where she finds her instructor’s warm, nurturing, and accepting embrace and the her own motivation to improve her riding. There is a quote that “Horses give us the wings we lack.” Hope Springs has truly given our daughter wings.
This group is a win in so many ways. The clients seem to be calmed by and bond with the horses and it's great therapy for them. The clients' caretakers get a break while their charges are taking the lesson or attending camp. Some of the horses were in need of homes. As a volunteer, it's a really rewarding experience to be part of something that directly creates such positivity for everyone involved.
Being a volunteer at this organization is my favorite part of the week. I always know that I am going to enjoy my time connecting not only with our wonderful students but also with the amazing instructors. As a high school student, there aren't many opportunities to have hands on experiences with people of all ages, but at Hope Springs it's amazing to see the students grow and develop certain skills at every lesson and there is absolutely no shortage of smiles and laughter while they learn!
I have had the privilege of being involved with this organization since I started as a volunteer in 1997 and now serving as a board member. I continue to be impressed with the positive impact that Hope Springs has on the lives of our riders. The instructors are dedicated and skilled and truly take the time to know each student. Volunteers are appreciated and receive the requisite training required to make the most of their contribution. This is a well run organization with heart!
Volunteering at Hope Springs over the past 8 years as been been extremely rewarding. My son completed his Eagle project there and it is an honor to see students use the mounting block and ramp. Seeing the student's freedom on horseback is so fulfilling. Every instructor, horse, cat, and volunteer are so dedicated, it's inspiring to be there.
I started volunteering at Hope Springs in 2013 for weekly Sunday lessons and joined the board in June 2014. As a horseperson, I knew I would enjoy the equine aspect of helping at Hope Springs, but I was hooked when I began to see how the small victories during lessons compounded and translated into huge improvements in the students’ lives. The instructors are amazing and the horses are very well cared for and love their jobs. It’s an honor to be a volunteer & board member at Hope Springs and to be a part of the impact the program has on the people it serves.
I have been involved with Hope Springs for nearly 5 years now. First I was a volunteer and then an instructor for their educational portion of their summer camps. Then I agreed to be a board member. Being a retired special education teacher, I have found that the instructors, volunteers and administration are excellent. While taking a professional attitude with their students, they are also warm and friendly, always being very supportive of their clients and parents. As a horsewoman, I also find that the care of the horses and the facility is first rate. I have been involved with many nonprofit organizations over the years but find Hope Springs to be one of the best. I highly recommend Hope Springs to anyone who has a child or adult who can benefit from therapeutic riding and the support this wonderful program offers.
I am an adult client with a spinal fusion who has been riding at Hope Springs for seven years. It is the best therapy in so many ways. The motion of the horse relaxes and strengthens my back and core muscles. I enjoy the wonderful staff, the volunteers, and the specially trained horses. After my back injury, I never thought that I would be able to do something like this again, and it is one of my most favorite activities ever. I also see how it benefits other riders of all ages and abilities. Hope Springs is a Great Nonprofit!
I have been volunteering at Hope Springs for about three months. Even in that short amount of time, I have been able to see improvements in all the students that I have worked with. It is an amazing experience to see kids remembering things from the last lesson and gaining the ability to do more on their own. As soon as the kids get on the horses, their faces light up with excitement and joy. The instructors that I have worked with—Natalie, Dallas, and Jeannie—are simply fantastic with the students. They are kind, friendly, and firm if they have to be, but they truly care about improving the lives of each and every. I can truly say that I look forward to and enjoy volunteering at Hope Springs every Sunday morning. What they do there is truly amazing, and I am thrilled that I am able to be a part of it.
My daughter, who was born with spina bifida, began riding at Hope Springs in 2002 when she was eight-years old. She is now a beautiful and confident twenty year-old young woman attending Montgomery County Community College pursuing a degree in Early Education. She continues to ride today and enjoys her time with the special horses, instructors and volunteers at Hope Springs.
My daughter has benefited greatly from Hope Spring’s therapeutic riding program. She has improved her physical stamina and core strength. Her riding has also given her so much confidence. We, as a family, have benefited from the special relationships with the instructors and all the volunteers that have been willing to give their time to Hope Springs. Hope Springs is a very special place.
The only thing wrong with my volunteer experience at Hope Springs, is it was too short! Jeanie, Natalie, Dallas and the rest of the staff are excellent instructors and wonderful people. Their dedication to what they do is truly inspiring. One of the best parts of my day was showing up for my shifts at the barn. It's incredible to witness the progress students make, even in a short amount of time. I highly recommend this organization and wish you all continued success!