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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

M A R E Riding Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animal Training, Autism, Health Care

Mission: Teaches horse riding to handicapped individuals.

Target demographics: Children, Adults and Veterans with physical or mental disabilities through Equine Therapy

Direct beneficiaries per year: 208

Geographic areas served: Bakersfield, California

Programs: Center teaches physically and/or mentally handicapped individuals in the bakersfield area how to ride horses for physical therapy and recreational enjoyment.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experience at MARE has been one of the best things in my life. The dedicated staff and volunteers that work effortlessly in all kinds of weather and situations to help people with disabilities each day to be the best they can be. The focus is always on abilities and to increase each individual's potential. The love of the horses and how accepting they are with their unconditional love, the many new young volunteers learning and sharing their time to help people that can't help themselves. MARE is a great place to give of yourself, meet new friends and be happy.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been riding at MARE for almost 20 years and every time she gets on a horse she enjoys it. The facility is well tended, the horses are well suited to the job, the volunteers and staff are eager to help and make the most of her every ride. MARE is a godsend for my daughter - there are few activities she enjoys or engages in, and it is the only method of physical therapy that works.

2 April R.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This will be my daughter Dakotas 4th year at MARE. Valley Childrens Hospital in Madera Ca referred me to them due to my daughters disabilities. At first she was scared to death to even get on C.B.(the first horse she rode) but since then she has participated in horse shows has learned so much about grooming and is now riding like a champ, no fear. She is ready to try anything on the horses. She has bloomed. The staff here are very amazing. They show love and support, and really know what they are doing with both the horses and the riders. I love the staff. They have hearts of Gold. And the staff watching them as they train the volunteers is great too. It seems some of these kids have no idea what's in store for them but its amazing to see the high school volunteer staff blossom as well. Also my daughters lead Victor is a Vet. He is also a rider. I have so much admiration for him and the program he is in for our Veterans and I think 8t is great that MARE offers a program to our Veterans as well. I am really proud that my daughter is part of such a wonderful organization, it's like we are family, even with the horses. Oh I forgot to mention the horses. They are wonderful with the riders. It's like each rider and their horse become 1. The horses are easy going. They are have their own funny personalities. This program has helped my daughter grow and she will continue and so will many many others children and adults.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

MARE is a wonderful program with the most wonderful people. They show the kids love and a sense of accomplishment along with therapy.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can’t say enough good things about MARE and their staff. I joined their Veteran riding program late 2017. Since then it has helped me out tremendously. At the time and still to this day I battle depression and anxiety. The riding at MARE has made them manageable. I understand that I will always battle them but the riding will always help me with these struggles. The riding has made me a better person. I never knew coming here would start a new passion for me. This passion has benefited me not only on my horses back but in my own personal life. The staff here is second to none. I am greated with heart warming smiles and greetings every time I walk into the barn. Each instructor ensures that every lesson we are growing and learning in our horsemanship. They have always maintained a positive attitude and keep the atmosphere fun. I have also reconnected with brothers and sisters from the military. I never realized how much I was missing them in my life. Those relationships are priceless. We understand and respect each other. We have a bond that other person can understand. Like I stated there is not enough that I can put in word about how great MARE is.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

MARE had been incredible for our severely autistic son the past four years. Hippotherapy is the only therapy that's actually helped him. He enjoys it and we can see the difference it makes!

2 Darren W.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

MARE is an amazing nonprofit! Going out there as a volunteer and being able to walk with the horse and child is a wonderful experience. It always brings such joy seeing the kids connect with the horses and improve each time they go out. Love spending my time volunteer with this organization.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been riding at MARE for going on 6 years now, and he loves every lesson. If he is feeling down or grumpy, riding one of MARE’s sweet horses never fails to lift his spirits and restore his self-confidence. The riding instructors and the staff are so motivating and accepting of his challenges. When he is riding all his concerns about social anxieties and academic difficulties melt away, and I can see that he is at peace and able to focus on riding. We love MARE for helping our sweet boy to regroup and feel whole every week.

2 Lindsey P.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have the honor of saying I've been involved with M.A.R.E. for 25 years. Seen as an unconventional form of therapy, equine therapy is an incredible thing to experience no matter the capacity. Whether as a student, a volunteer, parent, instructor, or therapist, what unfolds during a lesson is something to behold. M.A.R.E. is an extrodinary program. I grew up in an environment where differences were celebrated and miracles happened on horseback. A young girl who struggled to control her body without assistance was able to take reins and maneuver a 1200 pound animal through an obstacle course. A blind man cantered perfect cirlces by listening to an instructors voice for directions. A woman injured in an accident was told she would never walk again; she now mounts her equine partner unassisted and rides unincummbered. Veterans, suffering from PTS, form partnerships with giant four legged friends who never judge them and somehow quielty sense thier need for companionship. For so many who may otherwise suffer quietly, their weekly lesson at M.A.R.E. is a shinning beacon of hope and inclusion. Horses have a spirit that, if given the chance, will build a person up and not tear them down like so much of the rest of the world. M.A.R.E. provides that opportunity. From the education of their volunteers, community involvement, level of professionalism, horsemanship, and determination to help provide funding for students, I remain dedicated to M.A.R.E. We help change lives one stride at a time, and I am darn proud of that.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a new volunteer without any prior horse experience. All of the staff and volunteers have welcome me and continue to help. There is continuing emphasis on safety for me, the horses and the riders. Picture yourself bonding with others, the horses, all for the purpose of helping the riders. I also am able to be a side rider. The dedication of the instructors helping the children, the parents doing all they can, the staff and volunteers working altogether to reach the ultimate goal. Walk On.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MARE is a wonderful place to volunteer! I have been volunteering off and on for about 2 years.
The volunteer coordinator trains incoming volunteers with integrity and precision! It's all about safety! Safe horse handling, safe client to volunteer interactions and the entire staff is welcoming and cheerful!
What a great place to learn everything about horses. There are those like me who dreamed of having horses when we were young, and did just about any chore for other folks in order to smooth a mane and kiss a velvet nose. The barn is the hub of activity, and the special kids and adults who come to ride are the reason MARE is an anchor non- profit in my community.
It is an amazing thing to watch the riders settle into a saddle on a trusted horse. To watch a child's confidence grow week by week is no less than a small miracle.
I love this place.....it's grows on ya!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an amazing program and nurturing environment for anyone involved with MARE! Whether a person is involved as a rider, a volunteer, a parent of a rider, a board member or staff, this is a remarkable group of supportive people. Therapeutic horseback riding is the "complete therapeutic package" as it simultaneously taps into a multitude of therapeutic disciplines, all within the space of each lesson. Opportunities and skills are revealed and lives are changed on a regular basis....such exciting things to witness!

3 Christine St John F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing opportunity for people to interact and form a connection with horses. This is a unique and effective therapy to help a wide range of children and adults. The staff and volunteers work so hard to ensure each person feels welcome and has great success. Just one of the best experiences we have had.

3 Staci E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered here for 4 years, and the staff is truly amazing. The instructors are patient and caring, the barn staff take very good care of the horses, volunteer training is very thorough and clear, the facility is very clean and organized, and all the other volunteers i had the pleasure of meeting and working with were extremely kind.