My name is Debra Knouse & my son Matthew suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder, mild Mental Retardation, OCD, ADHD, Depression & PTSD. Matthew has been riding at Ivy Hill almost 8 years. He has competed in many home horse shows as well as the Handicapped Rider Division of Devon (Thorncroft) & has qualified for Special Olympics summer games at Penn State & has won many ribbons & medals. Before joining Ivy Hill, Matthew was very shy, introverted, poor posture & poor eye contact. Matthew met his first horse Sonny who he immediately fell in love with. Sonny carried Matthew through many shows & awards. Sonny has since retired so now Declan, Blue, Flash & the rest of the amazing horses of Ivy Hill has given him so much love, patience & understanding. Ivy Hill has given me my gentle, loving, kind, compassionate son back. His posture, eye contact & social skills have blossomed. Matthew had a very devastating life event, not related to Ivy Hill about 2 years ago. This event has knocked him down but with the love & support of the horses, instructors, volunteers, board of directors & owners he is starting to get back to himself. We can't imagine life without Ivy Hill & we are very proud to be part of the wonderful Ivy Hill family. In addition to being this wonderful young mans mother I am also a volunteer. I see first hand how these horses & programs change children's lives for the better.
Lukas started therapeutic horse back riding when he was 4 years old. This was one of many therapies we tried to improve his low tone and coordination disorder. We found Ivy Hill about 7 years ago and thats when “just another therapy” became so much more. At Ivy Hill, the interaction with the horse, grooming and tacking was new for him. The relationship between his instructors and the volunteers quickly became friendships. The opportunities to compete at Special Olympics became opportunities to grow socially and become independent.
Now as a volunteer he has the opportunity to be a mentor and a helpful part of his community. This makes him feel so very proud!
Ivy Hill has very quickly gone from “just another therapy” to a sense of accomplishment, pride and family.
It is very hard to put into words how much Ivy Hill means to our family, they have given Lukas so much! Lukas loves “his” barn, they have given him his place of belonging.
I've seen first-hand the work that Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center has done with their clients. Their staff and volunteers are top-notch and you can really see their passion in their work. From the moment you walk through the doors, you feel as though you are part of the family. Whether you are staff, volunteer, client, parent, board member, etc., you can see how much care goes into everything they do.
I can’t thank Ivy Hill enough. My daughter has been struggling with an expressive receptive communication disorder and social anxiety since second grade. She has always been more introverted, and it takes her a bit longer to feel comfortable when meeting new people. She has always gravitated toward bonding with animals and we knew therapeutic riding would be a great fit for her. We initially tried riding lessons at another barn and while the people were knowledgeable, they lacked the ability to diversify their teaching in a way that made it easy for my daughter. Through word of mouth and a discussion with our pediatrician we stumbled upon Ivy Hill and couldn’t be happier. This is my daughter’s niche. She has formed friendships with peers and staff alike, has a sense of calmness when around her equine companions and now volunteers on a weekly basis. I feel like this experience, maybe better termed as a lifestyle for those who also have a love of horses, has given my daughter confidence and an outlet for her anxiety. I’d also like to think that life experience adds to our success as a person and that Ivy Hill has and will continue to offer positive life experience to aid in my daughter’s success.
My 4 special kids have grown up Ivy Hill. We are a special family made up of 2 sets of twins, each of the 4 children being diagnosed with disabilities. Our family found Ivy Hill when the boys were just 3 and that was the start of an amazing bond for my children with horse and teacher. The boys made a connection that was so inspiring to watch that when the girls were 3 they too became part of the experience. Alex and Aaron are now 12 years old. Alex is non-verbal severely Autistic, with sensory disorder and Aaron has ASD resulting in social struggle and focus. Abigail and Aleena are now 10 years old. Abigail has hearing loss, severe speech delay, severe anxiety and has under gone many surgeries for eye issues. Aleena was born with a heart defect, requiring many surgeries, the most recent in January 2019. As a result of her surgeries much damage has been done to the rest of her body and her brain, resulting in a ASD diagnosis as well. The girls look forward to riding every week and get very excited when we talk about the past years or plans for horse camp. They both get so much more out of it from a parent perspective, they find confidence in themselves, independence, responsibility and a sense of belonging. They also are strengthening their bodies while doing something they enjoy. They have a place to go where they are not judged on their abilities or made to feel different. They come home so proud of doing something new on the horses. They get a chance to really bond with the horses and there is so much to be said for a friend with hooves. Thanks to the fantastic group of staff and volunteers, the kids have bonded with the Staff and volunteers too, not just the horses. Our family is so grateful for this wonderful program and all those involved; we enjoy watching the children blossom with each year they attend. Currently, only 2 of the children are riding due to the financial cost of riding. Please consider this amazing program to help families offset the cost to give these truly special children and adults opportunity to benefit from this incredible program.
Ivy Hill is an incredible organization to work with, and for! I started as a volunteer here several years ago, and eventually moved into the position of Volunteer Coordinator last month. The employees here make Ivy Hill a genuine and welcoming place, the volunteers reflect lifelong dedication and hard work, and the riders show determination, they radiate positivity, and they teach everyone here that anything is possible. As a volunteer I had the opportunity to work with one rider specifically who told me during our first lesson together in September that her goal was to get a first place ribbon at Special Olympics that spring. While I was internally doubtful at first, I watched her work so incredibly hard over the next six months, challenging her mind and her body, and eventually I got to hear all about her winning that first place ribbon! While the instructors and volunteers have a lot to teach our riders, our riders have even more to teach us about life, hope, and love. I could not be more grateful for my time at Ivy Hill, and I will not be leaving anytime soon!
After becoming disabled later in life due to several strokes, I have been so glad to find that Ivy Hill is pleased and able to provide riding instruction for seniors!
The staff is great! Everyone is knowledgeable, kind and fun.
It has been decades since my childhood riding days, so it is a joy to have the experience again, despite my disability.
Casey is a special needs, deaf volunteer with Ivy Hill and his experience has been nothing short of AMAZING! The staff and other volunteers are top notch and every single person goes above and beyond to make Casey feel included. Casey's "dream job" post-high school was to work with horses. Ivy Hill has made Casey's dream come true and given him a great purpose and feeling of accomplishment. His "work" days with Ivy Hill are some of his favorite and he wakes up every morning asking if he gets to go work with the horses. We are so thankful to the team and opportunity that Ivy Hill has provided to Casey and look forward to watching him grow with the organization for many years to come!
As a job coach with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit 22 for children and young adults with Special needs, I have had the opportunity to work at Ivy Hill with students of all levels. Ivy Hill is an exceptional and welcoming place. Our students can come here and gain the skills to make them competitive in today’s job market. Ivy Hill opens its doors to our students without any preconceived stereotypes of students with special needs and provides them an environment to grow into confident individuals. I have watched my students achieve so much after working at Ivy Hill. On a personal level, as a parent of a child with Special Needs, places such as Ivy Hill are hard to come by. They should be applauded for the wonderful work that they do. They give this Special Population HOPE!!
I have had an exceptional experience at Ivy Hill since I started working here in April of 2018 as the barn manager. The horses are all wonderful and have great temperaments. It is a beautiful thing to watch the way these patient and sweet horses interact with the riders, and the way the horses bring joy to everyone who interacts with them. Another thing that I appreciate about Ivy Hill is how inclusive it is. It is a place where anyone can come to feel safe and free of judgement, no matter what issues they may be working through. Ivy Hill is truly a place where you can go and see miracles happen right before your eyes.
The Bucks County Intermediate Unit is very happy to be starting into the second year here at Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center where many Bucks IU students have the opportunity to learn what it is like to have a volunteer work experience. These experiences in the past have helped greatly in leading to paid positions as students learn what work is about as a volunteer. They practice time management and learn specific skills that may help in gaining future employment. The many soft skills needed at all jobs are also put into practice here, getting to work on time, consistently, calling in if out sick which also leads to future success in the workplace. Thank you Ivy Hill for the opportunity here with our students!
Hi, my name is Stephanie Hamburger. I came to Ivy Hill as a volunteer in 2017 to help in my recovery from a traumatic brain injury that I had suffered in the summer of 2016. Little did I know that coming to Ivy Hill would change my life forever. When I first walked through the doors, I felt an immediate sense of belonging. Along with the staff, all of the horses have welcomed me into their family too. Here, at Ivy Hill, I have found a place where I feel loved and accepted, despite my limitations from my injury. As a result of my injury, I have had to adapt to a whole new life and during this process I had lost my sense of purpose. While volunteering, I have been able to create a completely new purpose for myself and my life. I have developed an entire new set of skills, goals, and aspirations for myself, which all include horses. Ivy Hill has helped reshape my life and has helped me find the courage to continue on in my journey called life.
Ivy Hill is the BEST! My daughter has been riding here since she was five years old and is now ten. The team at Ivy Hill was instrumental in strengthening Evie’s core which helped her to start walking sooner than she would have. My daughter has gained strength physically and emotionally as well since starting her lessons and we can’t imagine ever stopping! As a result of the training and support at Ivy Hill, Evie recently participated in the Pennsylvania Special Olympics and was awarded two Gold Medals! We are forever grateful to the staff at Ivy Hill and would highly recommend this facility..
As teachers working with children most of our adult lives, my husband and I sought to combine our love of kids with an opportunity to make a difference in our community, and if possible, tie that in with our affinity for animals! We began volunteering at Ivy Hill in June of 2017. Our volunteer work with Ivy Hill in the therapeutic riding program proved to be so much more than just a perfect fit.
Ivy Hill has an amazing staff; passionate, professional and talented. It is a beautiful thing to witness the instructors not just teaching their riders skills, but interacting with them in a way which gives them authentic experiences in sportsmanship, access to challenging equestrian tasks and provides them with essential life skills.
Riders of all ages and abilities are encouraged to do their individual best in a supportive and compassionate atmosphere; yet there exists standards and expectations to follow and maintain. It’s difficult to imagine a more perfect inclusive therapeutic environment to build not only equestrian skills, but confidence, rigor and and self-esteem.
I can attest to this not only as a former special education teacher for 27 years, but as a new rider at Ivy Hill. I had a major fall in October of 2016 and suffered a traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury. After more than a year of various therapies and major surgery, I was cleared to ride. What better place to start over? My doctors agreed.
Although I had ridden Western as a child and into my twenties, I knew I would enjoy the transition to English riding. What did surprise me were the strides I would make in balance, strength, confidence and coordination so immediately. And those were just the physical results; my husband and I are thrilled with my newfound confidence, self-esteem and a decrease in my anxiety. So much so that we decided to increase my lessons to six lessons per month. My volunteering experience has now come full circle and I could not be more excited for the future with Ivy Hill.
As a person who previously worked for 2 very successful non-profits, I welcomed the invitation to join the Board at Ivy Hill. After a period of being at home raising my children, I was pleased to be involved with an organization with a mission such as Ivy Hill and excited to rejoin the non-profit world. Of course, initially there was a period of sitting back to understand and grasp what the organization did and comprehend the operations. I am so pleased to say that this organization is as true as it initially appeared to me. This is a groups of committed people who are striving to enhance the lives of every person they work with through pure love and equine therapy. It has been privilege to be a part of such a kind and true charity. Observing the lessons and activities at Ivy Hill speaks for itself. I would encourage anyone reading this to schedule a visit and see for yourself. It will speak volumes!
Throughout the past fifteen years of my life, I have traveled to every corner of Bucks County riding at any and every barn, and Ivy Hill was practically famous in this county. I started out as a young girl with a dream: become an equestrian. I began riding at the age of seven, and I was fortunate enough to cultivate my passion for horses and helping people into a life-changing and extraordinarily rewarding career. After graduating with a degree in Psychology, I was hired here as a trainer and a Volunteer Coordinator. I can honestly describe this place as being one of a kind. Each student is viewed as an individual and they set their own goals, which allows each lesson to be tailored directly to them. The freedom our riders experience during their lessons is unmatched. I am fortunate enough to witness miracles happen and lives change day in and day out. The people I have met here are relentless in giving to others and I am constantly inspired by all of them. I wouldn't trade the friendships I have discovered and the lessons I have learned for the world. In simple terms, Ivy Hill truly is a Great Nonprofit.
I work at Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Perkasie PA. I am the janitor. My duties include but not limited to cleaning the offices, viewing area, the conference room and the bathrooms. My schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 12pm.
I enjoy working there because the people I have met are friendly and supportive of me. The atmosphere is kind and friendly, we all work together to make the riding experience carefree and positive.
I have seen people improve their self-confidence, posture and strength. I have seen kids that never smile come in and smile while on the horse and after riding. I have also seen kids come running to get on their favorite horse and hug their assistances.
Ivy Hill makes you feel like family. Whether you are a currently working volunteering, riding or a past worker volunteer or rider you are welcomed with open arms.
Two of my children started riding at Ivy Hill this year. My daughter is blossoming at Ivy Hill right before my eyes. She is growing in confidence, gaining new critical thinking skills, and enjoying socialization in a safe and welcoming environment. I've truly never seen inclusion done so well. No matter what mood my daughter walks into Ivy Hill with she always leaves happy and calm. Equine therapy has become a huge blessing to us!
My 4 year old son was recently adopted from China and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He had only been walking for about a year when we started lessons and I've seen him gain the core strength necessary to run, jump and start to swim this summer. Every week his instructor and I celebrate the milestones he is now meeting. Hippo therapy is truly changing his life!
What makes Ivy Hill stand out is the inclusive, innovative nature of the program and staff. Ivy Hill uses the equine experience to support anyone who could benefit from it. Their programs reach out to people of all walks of life and truly bolster the community in any way it can. This non-profit is always improving-they are not afraid of change but embrace it. This is because that is what their therapeutic program is designed to do- constantly support and improve the lives of it's clients. Ivy Hill is an integrative family- the donors and clients and volunteers and staff all work with each other in a way where there isn't isolation between the groups. This is important because integrating these facets of a non profit leads to more effective and efficient learning for all.
I worked and volunteered at Ivy Hill for two years and I still stay connected with them. Ivy Hill is equine therapy at it's finest.
As a parent ,we strive to do the best for our children. As a parent of a Special Needs child it seems that we always have to fight for everything, health care, education,special equipment. How far from that grind was the program we found at Ivy Hill.
This therapeutic equestrian center has proven to be a God send. The instructors, the HORSES and everyone involved is just awesome everyday.
The center is welcoming ,informative and trained to perfection.
My daughter Holly started riding here 4 years ago at a time when she really needed to find something for herself , something that she could do all on her own. Ivy Hill has allowed her the independence to explore her love of horses and better yet ,to learn how to ride. More importantly, riding independently ,something I never thought was possible has had such a dramatic impact on Holly sometimes I just sit back in awe.
People would tell me wait and see she will change. Therapeutic riding will help her walk and talk improve her strengths and her social graces. Yeah , right , at 30 years old I didn't think so. After all I am her mom and I know everything!
Well MOM guess what, Holly's strength has improved her mobility and her speech has improved , most of all her independent thinking has improved. I have no one to thank but Ivy Hill and their exceptional team.
Would I recommend Ivy Hill,? In a New York second! They should be applauded for their dedication, knowledge and patience for each and every rider who walks through the barn doors. No one is turned away. If you are 8 to 80 just do it . You won't be sorry.