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NCEFT - National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Education, Educational Services, Equestrian, Health, Rehabilitative Care, Sports

Mission: NCEFT is dedicated to helping people with special needs reach beyond their boundaries through equine-assisted therapies, education and research.

Results: The National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy was founded in 1971, more than 45 years ago. NCEFT programs include physical, occupational and speech therapies incorporating equine movement (hippotherapy), adaptive riding, equine-assisted mental health services, summer camp and programs for military Veterans and special education school classes. In the mid-80's, NCEFT's therapists were trained in a revolutionary type of therapy being utilized in Europe, known as "hippotherapy." Recognizing the benefits of hippotherapy to individuals affected by neuromuscular disorders, such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and as a many as 40 other conditions, NCEFT implemented a program designed to provide therapeutic services to the disabled community, as well as to provide and promote education in hippotherapy to health professionals in the US and around the world. Our programs impact the lives of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and injuries, as well as active-duty and Veterans military personnel. NCEFT is recognized nationally and internationally as one of the finest non-profit hippotherapy centers in the U.S. We currently provide weekly treatment sessions to over 125 children and adults living in the San Francisco Bay Area. NCEFT relies heavily on the thousands of hours of volunteer assistance it receives annually (virtually every therapy session offered by NCEFT requires the assistance of volunteers).

Target demographics: NCEFT enables children, adults and veterans with special needs or disabilities reach beyond their boundaries.

Direct beneficiaries per year: More than 125 people every week

Geographic areas served: Woodside, CA

Programs: Equine (horse) assisted physical, occupational, speech and mental health therapies, education and research, as well as adaptive riding, adaptive carriage driving, Veterans programs, special education school programs and summer camp.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve side-walked for NCEFT for a little over a year. Each client session is rewarding, yet it is hard to beat witnessing the transformation that happens over time, or in those special sessions when purely authentic giggles and smiles emerge. It has been inspiring to support a team of professionals - their openness to work with each client where they are – physically, cognitively or emotionally; a child, an adult, a Vet. Of course, there are also the relationships with those wonderful horses!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I just can say my son is so lucky who has chance to be in NCEFT with wonderful kind staff. they really doing great . My five years old son is a kind of cerebral palsy who has spastic muscles on his legs. he has a very good feeling in his exercise by horse, he also get improvement in different aspects like self confidence, balance, back muscles, .....

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter has been riding at NCEFT for three years now. It's had a huge impact on her core strength -- she could barely even sit on the horse when she started, and now she rides comfortably for half an hour at a stretch. Our daughter adores the trainers, volunteers and the horses. NCEFT is a magical place that offers children like ours a very special experience.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been going to NCEFT for a year and a half. She started at the age of two and I believe is still the youngest rider there! She has developmental delays with no diagnosis at this time and has every doctor watching over her. It was her neurologist that recommended horse riding therapy and I am so thankful that we discovered NCEFT. My daughter has therapy daily and this is by far her absolute favorite therapy that we attend every week. She cannot walk just yet, but is making tremendous strides and is getting stronger every week. I know one day she will be running to the arena to get on her horse! I am so grateful for the staff, volunteers and everyone at NCEFT that make this such an amazing place! The horses are very well cared for and the facility is well kept. It is such a welcoming environment and a beautiful location. The therapists and staff are all so caring and friendly. I highly recommend NCEFT to anyone that is looking into horse riding therapy!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been at NCEFT for 4 years. He has made tremendous gains in muscle tone and gross motor abilities during that time. Riding is the highlight of his week. When we started, he couldn't walk but would perk up and smile when he saw where we were. Now, he bolts out of the car and runs as fast as he can to the arena. The horses are well cared for and clean, and they have enough horses to change them to work on different movements with the rider. The staff are warm and caring and do whatever it takes to make the child successful. On hard days, my son will be surrounded by a therapist and volunteers who are singing or playing his favorite music to help get him through the harder work. The covered arena is wonderful and means that we never have to cancel bc of bad weather. My son is loved and cared for by all the staff and volunteers, and they cheer him on when he is successful. He just couldn't be happier than when he is riding. The beauty of it is that it is really hard work and is helping his motor development, but most of the time he just thinks it is amazing fun!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't say enough good things about this organization, its volunteers, staff and equine partners. For the last six years they have supported my son physically and emotionally, building his skills with steady assurance and good humor, supporting him through his ups and downs, and always alert to finding a constructive path. This kind of dedication and purpose is exceptional, heartwarming and hopeful.

Apart from the wonder of being on, beside and around the horses, it's good to be among such great role models. I wish them all success.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son loves going to NCEFT. The first three, times he was a bit scared but we stuck we it. He loves doing speech therapy on a horse. He has made significant progress with all the input he receives. He is also getting quite a workout, strengthening his core, improving his balance.

The therapists, staff and volunteers at NCEFT are some of the friendliest, most caring people. We are so lucky to have found them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love my time spent at NCEFT...pure and simple! It is my second famiy! As a volunteer for a few years now, I started out side walking and could see the beauty of the horses spirit and the connection with the clients. The patient and skilled therapists, in conjunction with the experienced horse handlers provided a world of help and hope for the challenged children and adults. It was so wonderful to see the children eagerly put on their helmets and get on their horse with the love and support of the parents or care giver near by. The therapy horses are seasoned, patient, well kept and loved, and seem to enjoy the experience as much as the patients. The horse handlers are the best and are committed to safety throughout the therapy sessions. The communication between the horse, the handler, the therapist, the patients, and the side walkers is the pinnacle of success with NCEFT! The grounds are well kept, a lovely gazebo built for the viewers, an experienced management who so love what they do to promote the success of this organization. I have seen incredible progress from very challenged patients, and remain in awe of the miracle of miracles with hippotherapy. I now work in the barn, grooming the horses before they met their precious mounts, and it is a thrill every time to see the magic between horse and human. NCEFT ROCKS!

1 Colleen35

Client Served

Rating: 5

NCEFT has become a very special place of healing for our family. Our daughter is 8 and has Rett Syndrome. She started riding at NCEFT 4 years ago and has been making slow and steady progress toward walking. Our daughter has to work at everything and by far this is her favorite place to do it. I love getting to see her interact with the fantastic staff and relax as she works with the horse. Our youngest has come to love the beautiful surroundings, kind staff and play area, it is her favorite appointment to go to and she goes to a lot. Our weekly trip to NCEFT is a bright spot and completely worth the long drive (45 mins.) to get there. The program is well managed and the staff is the best in the business!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Liam came to NCEFT 4 years ago with low tone issues from his disability. He has made incredible progress in strengthening his core and finding stability for his trunk. The staff at NCEFT has been supportive and helpful with all Liam's needs since his first day. He has made enough progress that he can now participate in the other horsemanship activities such as tacking, un-tacking, feeding and general care of the animals. This has given him a real sense of confidence around large animals and how to take care of them.
Thank you NCEFT!

2 Casey T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

“As a health care provider, horseman and former board member of NCEFT, my experience has now come full circle by becoming a patient. I fractured my neck in a horse competition in 2011 and was paralyzed. After a lengthy stint in a spine rehab unit and six months of daily therapy, I started treatment at NCEFT. My prognosis upon discharge from the spine center was wheelchair use for the remainder of my life. Today, I am no longer using the wheelchair and am able to walk with canes and am also an independent rider / horseman with aspirations of returning to competition in 2014. I believe that the care provided by NCEFT was (and is) the key reason that I am able to walk today. I believe that the balance and core strengthening components of hippotherapy changed my outcome and are largely responsible for the "miracle" (my neurosurgeon's word) that I am able to walk today. NCEFT is truly where miracles can and do happen. I encourage you to support this organization, so that others may achieve their potential and gain freedom from their limitations.” Dr. Casey Terribilini

2 LStrawn

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have a terrific kid named Julia. When we were told that Julia was a pre natal stroke survivor and thus would be a kid living with cerebral palsy, the world suddenly became a very scary place. Would we be able to find the right therapies, services, people to help us help Julia thrive?

Well, we were blessed indeed by lots of great people, opportunities and services. Among those, one of our very favorite places is the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy in Woodside, CA. NCEFT combines all of the best things; terrific and challenging physical and occupational therapies, amazing and gentle horses, and incredible people, all there to help people like Julia who need more than just participation in a physical activity. They need help to gain new abilities or rediscover those lost by illness or injury. At NCEFT, Julia has gained strength and balance and coordination and had the magical opportunity to spend time with some amazing horses and the people who care for them and train them. Julia also gets lots of extras like chatting with the staff and volunteers who, to a person, are remarkable and patient and kind. Julia has the chance to learn more about all of the animals, not just her own special horses. She even gets a ride after most lessons around the property with the executive director
himself! Talk about going that extra mile!

We feel that having a child with a disability has given us far more than it can ever take away. We value things differently, cherishing each milestone of development, each emerging burst of independence, because we have seen how difficult those victories can prove. Everyone at NCEFT understands this and works with Julia to keep growing and achieving and working toward success, riding high atop a beautiful horse. Nothing lifts the spirit of a special needs parent like seeing their child, taller than they ever imagined, stronger than they knew, sauntering along on one of earth's most beautiful creatures, with gifted and compassionate people right beside them, making certain they work hard, have fun and return to earth again safe and sound.