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Riding with HEART

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: The mission of Riding with HEART is to improve the quality of life of physically and cognitively challenged adults, children and their families and to provide youth development through our diversified equine assisted programs.

Target demographics: children and adults with physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 135 individuals and had 105 volunteers.

Geographic areas served: Central New Jersey

Programs: equine assisted activities and therapies such as adaptive therapeutic riding, Hippotherapy, Social Skills for Children on the Autism Spectrum, Equine Assisted Learning, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, summer camps, horsemanship, and volunteering.

Community Stories

38 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ridding with heart is an organization that I am proud to give a raving review. I've worked with the staff at one of their events and was so taken by their dedication and devotion that I will volunteer again when needed!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Riding With HEART is an amazing organization with an extremely caring staff that is truly making a difference in the lives of disabled children.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter volunteers and it has been such a great learning and development opportunity. She has learned to work on a team, keep her own schedule and work through real world problems all with a fantastic group of adults. Add to that she loves working with the riders and it can't get much better!!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Our son, Carmen Jr has been a part of Riding with Heart for at least 10 years. He started out as a rider - a child with autism and fear of animals. Now, at the age of 15 - he is volunteer!! He is giving back to the organization that has helped him grow so much! He has even received the Presidential Gold Awars for his volunteerism! Chris, the Director Riding with Heart, and all of her staff are dedicated to improving the lives of children with special needs. Riding with Heart is like Carmen Jr’s second home. He has developed friendships and enjoyed the comradery that is so difficult for kids in the autistic spectrum to do! He is considered a “leader” at Riding with Heart - something that almost seems foreign for kids like Carmen Jr! There is no better non-profit than Riding with Heart!

1 Donna O.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Riding With Heart is a place where everyone is welcome and accepted, a place where dreams are encouraged and anything is possible! A beautiful sanctuary with lots of room for the horses to live in open spaces. You feel the peace envelope you as you enter the gates!

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Riding With Heart has very high level programs, well planned and implemented. With a strong, well trained volunteer base, the lessons are always on time and the participants are given the level of support that is best for them. The herd is very well cared for, and love what they do!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a long time volunteer, I have had many heartwarming experiences working with clients, families, fellow team members and of course, wonderful horses. Riding With Heart is a great place to give back, learn and have lots of fun at the same time. This is a place that really makes a difference!

1 Christine S.2

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter lives for her riding lessons, she has Autism and has a strong bond with her horse. She has developed self esteem and is very proud of herself. She now has confidence. The horses at Riding with Heart are extremely gently and aware of what each rider needs.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Riding with Heart creates a very positive environment for riders and volunteers alike. There’s truly something for everyone at the barn and I love spending time there! I’ve been able to see so much personal growth in everyone who rides at the barn.

1 Siroun A.

Donor

Rating: 5

Caring, respectful, optimistic and very professional staff. their positive engagement in the community is contagious and exemplary.

1 Ron K.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Riding with HEART has been instrumental in improving the quality of life for our daughter. Their diversified equine assisted programs have assisted my daughter in building confidence and her physical abilities. We highly recommend them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Riding with HEART offers fantastic summer camp programs! Our children (5 and 8 years) enjoyed Pony Tales so much we signed up for a second week of Camp “NEIGH” bor. The programs are designed for children with and without disabilities; campers get hands on experience caring for horses, participate in daily horseback riding, and learn through lots of fun crafts and activities. Each day our children came home from camp with big smiles and wonderful stories about learning to ride Odyssey and Blue, reading to Sunny and Magic, and all their experiences on the farm! Chris and staff are warm and caring, because of all these things and more - we will definitely return to Riding with Heart next summer!
Thank you RWH! The Randall Family

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer here for many years. I love working with the clients , young and old and all the horses. Riding with HEART meets the needs of everyone who participates. I drive an hour once a week just so I can volunteer. That's how much this organization and all the people and horses means to me.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My disabled daughter rides at Riding with Heart. The program helps her with her balance, lengthens her attention span, teaches animal care & socialization skills, as well as safety & horseback riding. The staff greets her & engages her every session. Classes have a different theme throughout the sessions. On a rainy day she learned how to groom her horse which she enjoyed too. She is always aware of the clock on riding lesson days and hurries me out the door so we are not late!
My other daughter has volunteered at Riding with Heart and learned responsibility & the feeling of accomplishment by helping others and completing chores.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have several students who had never been close to a horse before and were so scared the first time we went to Riding with HEART that they wouldn't get close to the horse unless I was standing next to them. During the next few sessions the staff and volunteers patiently worked with the students until it got to the point that they were leading the horse around the ring with little or no assistance. The importance of respect, tolerance, empathy, and teamwork were all emphasized in conversations and practice as the students participated in activities throughout the program. What a great experience for my students who wouldn't have had this opportunity otherwise!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My wife grew up riding in Alexandria Twp where Riding with Heart is located. I grew up in Brooklyn and we didn't have horses there!. My Daughter became a rider and volunteered at Riding with Heart during High School. She gained maturity and empathy for others as she shared her love of horses and saw the special bonds formed between the horse and riders at Riding with Heart. I started riding at 56, and love it. I personally understand the calmness that bonding with a horse brings to a person. My wife and I have supported Riding with Heart and always try to find new donors for the organization. I was honored to be asked to be on the Board and hope to expand Riding with Hearts program to share the gift of riding and horses with as any clients as we can.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is an amazing program taught by well-trained and caring staff and incredible horses in a safe and educationally stimulating atmosphere. Riding with HEART offers the ultimate experience in therapeutic riding.

1

Former staff

Rating: 4

The Riding with HEART program works with children and adults with all forms of disabilities. The Equine Assisted learning groups, take participants out of the saddle and into the barn, where they work with the horses to learn trust, personal space and body language, etc. The program also incorporates horses into reading time, group work and confidence building. Riding with HEART is much more than horse back riding.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great program! The staff and volunteers are so dedicated I personally have seen the differences in the students from when they begin the program as quickly as 3 weeks later! Scared to even get on a horse then so happy to come, greet their horse by name, smiling during the class...makes me feel I'm contributing to their happiness.

1 JohnHyman

Donor

Rating: 5

The work being done by Riding with Heart is so very important to the lives of their clients, mainly young people with a variety of challenges. The proof is obvious- just look into their faces when they are interacting with the horses. And unlike many nonprofits RWH is almost frugal with the money they receive, with the funds used for maintaining a clean and safe stable. I challenge that there is a cleaner, nicer stable anywhere in New Jersey.

My family supports several local charities and Riding with Heart has become our favorite.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

There are very few nonprofit organizations that provide the hands on experience that Riding with Heart does. The benefit of this experience for special needs children is immeasurable. And there isn't sufficient room here to list the numerous ailments and disorders that equine interaction can provide benefit for, on both an emotional and a physical level.

My company is very selective in the organizations we align ourselves with we are very pleased with our association with Riding with Heart. The director, Chris, has a heart larger than a Clydesdale and her genuine love for what she does is apparent from the moment you meet her.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in donating time or money to a worthy cause I highly recommend you start your research with Riding with Heart.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter, who has cerebral palsy, has ridden at Riding with Heart for several years now. She absolutely loves the horses and all the people involved. It has improved her physical disability, but most importantly, her confidence and self-esteem. I always recommend RWH to anyone I know who needs that something more for their children.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been taking lessons and attending camp at Riding with Heart for several years. What a wonderful place! The staff and volunteers work tirelessly to provide a great experience for my son and they obviously love what they do.

My son has learned how to ride horses and has learned everything you can about horses. Not to mention how much he has learned to love horses.

My son looks forward to camp every year and I feel confidant leaving him there to enjoy the day with so many wonderful people to help him.

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter with Down syndrome is in love with horses. She attended horse camp in the summer of 2014 and loved every minute of the day. She felt so proud of herself as she came home and told me how she had tacked the horse all by herself. I was very impressed with the interest and care of the volunteers who work with the campers.

Karyn6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is legally blind but loves animals. Riding with Heart enabled her to ride and gain confidence in herself and her abilities. She learnt to walk, trot, canter & jump all under the epxert guidance of the instructors.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

M y 11 year old ( Born with Down Syndrome) has been ridding horses at Riding with Heart for the past three years. The staff and volunteers are very devoted, supportive and compassionate. Chis has been been wonderful running all aspects of the program, including hands on training during lessons. Kids enjoy her kindness, sense of humor and creativity.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 14 year old son has been a rider in the Social Skills program for 6 years and we keep coming back because the program is wonderful. Chris's lessons are very helpful and she makes them fun. In addition to the social skills my son has learned, he has bonded with his horse and has learned how to care for a horse. The volunteers are so kind and caring. The whole environment on the farm is relaxed and very welcoming. I would highly recommend their programs.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have volunteered at Riding with Heart for the past 4 years. It is a very good program which works with folks with both mental and physical challenges of all ages. Both Jessie and Chris work very hard to keep the program running smoothly, as do all the volunteers. Many of whom put in many hours a year. The yearly horse show is really a treat for all the clients as they get to "show off" the skills they have learned to their family and friends.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Chris is a wonderful, supportive and knowledgeable person who runs a fantastic program!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter is a volunteer for riding with heart as well as takes lessons there. The facility and work they do with children of all abilities is wonderful! It is a safe, clean, and nurturing environment that I am very thankful for.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Because of Riding with Heart's professionals and volunteers, a disability does not have to limit an adult or child with disabilities from the enjoyment and therapeutic benefits of horseback riding. The horses provide an opportunity to improve flexibility, balance, muscle strength and give a sense of self and self esteem.
Behind the scenes there is so much heart and commitment to the everyday caring of the horses, the barn, the grounds and raising money to keep things going…it's just amazing and so very admirable.

Kay_18

Donor

Rating: 5

What a great place for kids to learn about their ABILITIES! :) Kay

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Riding with Heart for almost a year. I am simply amazed that there are only 2 full time people that run all these programs, give lessons, care for the horses and make a difference in mentally and physically handicapped children and adult's lives every time they visit.

Along with many volunteers, Chris Baxter (the program director) and Jesse Willet (Riding instructor and Barn manager) take wonderful care of the 11 super horses and also tend to the individual needs of the students attending the program.

Chris individualizes each program to fit the special needs of the students and after a few hesitant introductions to ENORMOUS horses, they leave with confidence and smiles on their faces. Chris is patient, but firm when needed to ensure the safety of both the animals and the humans. I have seen many students work through their fear and become confident and happy on the other side, leaving with pride in themselves and stories to share.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that offers many benefits to the adults and children that it serves. Riding with HEART builds relationships between humans and equines that change lives through improved physical, mental and emotional health.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started as a volunteer for Riding With Heart about two years ago. There is such an underlying sense of caring and commitment there. I have witnessed many positive changes in the riders making me feel quite privileged to be a part of such a fine organization.
The other volunteers mirror the commitment of the organization. It's a diverse group and a powerful model for other more far reaching communities in terms of working together for a common goal.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Riding with Heart consistently provides a friendly, constructive and positive atmosphere for parents, riders, and volunteers. The staff and volunteers are extremely committed to providing a wonderful experience for all riders and their families.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My friend, Chris is the Program Director and Certified Instructor at Riding with HEART. She started as a volunteer, combining her life long love of horses and calling to work with children with disabilties. Having worked in the local school with children with multiple disabilities, she brought her wealth of knowledge to her work at Riding with HEART. Chris is the most passionate, caring, creative, intuitive, organized, hard working and humorous person I know. She brought all these qualities to this program and has enhanced and changed the lives of so many people as result. As an orthopaedic nurse, I have seen the physical benefits of the children and adults participating in this program; increased core strength, flexibility and proprioception. I am sure their families, teachers and care givers can attest to the cognitive, social, psychological and behavioral benefits this program provides. It truly is life changing for the participants and the staff.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Originally I did this looking for a way to make more volunteer hours for a possible scholarship. Not only was Riding with Heart an amazing opportunity to learn and help others but it also was soothing in my hectic schedule as well. I think this is an amazing program filled with great organizers and teachers, volunteers, and horses.