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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SEBASTIAN RIDING ASSOCIATES INC

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services

Mission: To improve the quality of life of individuals living with mental health, physical or intellectual disabilities through equine assisted learning and therapy programs

Target demographics: Individuals living with varied disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 260

Geographic areas served: Primarily in Montgomery county

Programs: equine assisted learning and therapy programs

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Christine Grear N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Sebastian Riding Associates is the epitome of caring non-profits. Everyone there loves what they do and it shows in how they work with the horses, students and each other. My daughter started in their Riding Free Program for children with PTSD. Years later she is well adjusted, loves riding horses and looking forward to giving back and working with other student at SRA. They truly are the best!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sebastian Riding Associates is a marvelous facility that provides services to children/people with disabilities. My daughter has been riding at Sebastian for over 20 yrs. and riding has provided her with confidence as well as her physical strength and balance. Highly recommend SRA

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Excellent organization!! Our daughter and son both ride there for their therapy classes and they love it very much!! Everyone working/volunteering at Sebastian is kind and caring and loves what they do day in and day out!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

While Kat's twin sister found her niche with multiple dance classes during the week, it's more difficult to find outside interests that Kat can pursue with her CP issues limiting her movement. Although PT appointments outside of school would be beneficial, Kat has not been that excited about going to them. However, she has been attending Hippotherapy at Sebastian for several years, on Friday evenings no less, when she is often a little tired from her busy day/week at school, yet she still starts clapping when we get to the turn for Sebastian, and she squeals and smiles when she sees her PT Janet, as well as Jenny and the other awesome volunteers that make her session safe, possible and productive. She fits in a strong PT session without even realizing she's working; sitting backward on the horse and throwing bean bags at a target are lots of fun, but she's improving her balance, strengthening her core, and stretching her tight hamstrings at the same time. This activity gives her the chance to feel special, confident and more independent while also getting to be with horses, and she loves animals, so that is especially motivating. Seeing her slender form sitting so tall and straight on top of one of the big horses, hearing her squeals of delight, and returning her proud wave as she rides her horse past me makes me feel so grateful for the family atmosphere at Sebastian Therapeutic Riding.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sebastian's is a welcoming and friendly place where anyone can enjoy and develop the skill of horseback riding. Students groom and tack the horse and develop great confidences. All levels of riding are taught by our staff who are trained and certified instructors. The therapeutic horseback riding is a emotionally and physically rewarding. What a great place! And the horses are awsome!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My soon to be 5 year old autistic daughter was just got evaluated for therapeutic horse riding. The therapist were so kind, caring and wonderful with her. She currently suffers from post traumatic stress and has separation anxiety and the therapists helped her every step to get her to stay on and to get to one point of the barn. And tears soon turned into smiles and laughter. It truly touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. She loves horses and I truly believe the gifted therapist are going to help her with her sensory, anxiety and developmental growth. I look forward to the start of her lessons.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son, 6, has Cerebral Palsy due to a premature birth and is also on the Autism spectrum. He started hippotherapy with SRA this year but quickly 'graduated' to therapeutic riding because of his quick advancement. Riding has helped him with core strength, balance, and coordination along with benefiting from social interactions with the animals and staff. He gains a sense of pride and accomplishment through riding that I haven't seen through other forms of therapies. Thank you, SRA, for the great work you do for our kiddos!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sebastian's people are as wonderful as the horses are (well, I mean that in the best possible way). The trainers and the groomers and the handlers and the many volunteers are all warm-hearted and caring and careful. The children have wonderful experiences.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 7 year old daughter Samantha was born prematurely with arthogryposis multiplex congenita, bilateral club foot and bilateral congenital hip dislocation. We started Hippotherapy at Sebastian Riding Associates in April of this year. The experience has been phenomenal. Samantha's strength and gait has improved dramatically. Meg Kotes, PT and Cyndi MacFarland worked with Samantha and they are BEYOND WORDS! We are so grateful for all that they have done for her. Samantha also had the opportunity to ride in their "Under the Sea" horse show in mid-September and she came home with the first place ribbon! In the past week Samantha was released to therapeutic riding and she had her first lesson with Cyndi this past Monday. She loves it so much and we look forward to watching her flourish as a little equestrian!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My granddaughter was born with arthrogryposis which was a direct result of a neuromuscular disease to date is still a mystery. Arthrogryposis causes fixed joints and lack of muscle in different areas of the body. In Hannah’s case it affected her arms, hands, legs, feet, neck, speech etc. She is in a power chair and will never walk and needs constant physical therapy or she will regress. PT is something she will need her entire life.
I learned of Sebastian at my place of employment. We have a yearly program called “Touched by an Agency” where the employee can submit a non-profit organization that affected their lives in a huge, positive way. The story of Sebastian made the top 15 and was sent out company-wide which is based in the US with locations throughout the world. That is a true testament to this organization. This program is highly regarded by not only the company but by the employees as well.
I knew that this type of therapy would be helpful for Hannah Faith. In addition to the Arthrogryposis and all areas affected she was also born with club feet and a tethered spinal cord which they released at 1 year of age. The therapy on a horse would help with her core strength but it would be done in a way that wouldn’t feel like physical therapy at all. She could bond with “Galen”, her current horse and develop a relationship that has turned out to be incredible. The crew at Sebastian is, without a doubt, committed to what they do. It never ceases to amaze me how much of their time and heart they give. I admire each and every one of them.
This year my grandson who is 10 years of age, Hannah’s big brother, had to start therapy at Sebastian. They found the same strain in his muscles as Hannah only not as severe. Since we don’t know the disease we don’t know if it was late onset of if he was born with it.
Sebastian has offered an alternative to these children who through no fault of their own suffer from an incurable disability. Please help them to continue to help all of the children that benefit from their therapy.

2 Kelly S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been riding at Sebastian's for 5 years. The horses, staff, and volunteers are wonderful, and she looks forward to going more than anything else in her life! She knows every horse, and most of the instructors, although she has her favorites (because she doesn't enjoy change, especially the unexpected). And after each lesson, she never forgets to share an apple or two for the horse, in gratitude for it's hard work with her.

Watching her in the horse show every September is a highlight of our year! She invites her cousins and grandparents, and really enjoys being in the 'limelight.' Sebastian's has given Gabi a place to experience love for animals and team work; it has taught her how to set and work toward personal goals to overcome challenges, and most of all, gives her an understanding of success, encouragement and support for herself and for others. She displays her ribbons proudly and we are ever grateful to the wonderful experience Sebastian's has brought to our family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SRA has made a huge impact on my child's overall well being. Learning how to care for and respect horses has helped mold him into an extremely kind and gentle person. He has a great presence about him that has partially come from the confidence he acquired at SRA. He is physically stronger and more alert. The staff is wonderful. They really take the time to get to know your child and are willing to try anything to make him or her have an enjoyable experience. I can honestly say that we look forward to going every time!

2 Wendy107

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son started riding with Sebastian Riding Associates when he was ten years old, on the advice of his occupational therapist. Multiple disabilities, poor attention, poor body tone, limited social skills - my son needed help! The first time he got on a horse, they put him on backwards on just a saddle pad. As the horse began to walk, I saw my son sit up straight. For the first time. The movement of the horse caused him to adjust his posture. He could barely lift the horse's hoof for cleaning, brushing was exhausting. Today, 14 years later, my son rides independently. He is stronger, more confident, and has something socially acceptable to talk about and share with others. He was able to join 4H and was even State champion in the therapeutic trail division. It has done him a world of good not only physically, but emotionally and socially as well. The people there are kind and capable, encouraging and skilled. It is a valuable resource to our community!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amy son Nick goes rides every week, he loves it. For him, it is the highlight of the week. He loves the horses and the teachers.

2 Jeffrey L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sebastian Riding Associates is a great place nestled in Evansburg Park. I have seen students grow from children to adults and you can see the impact these horses, instructors, and volunteers have had on these students. As a long term volunteer and horse leader/side walker/stall cleaner/ feeder/ caretaker, it is also a great place for everyone as the therapy these great equines give us cannot be measured. Everybody has a favorite horse, but they all perform wonders in their own special way. I cannot say enough great things about Sebastian Riding Associates. It is a wonderful place.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They are so caring and loving, they become part of your family. The opportunities to volunteer and spend quality time as a family are endless

2 Dina P.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering as a certified instructor at Sebastian! The staff and volunteers are warm and caring with a commitment to provide top quality experiences for all riders. Lessons, goals, horse selection and instructors are specifically chosen to meet the unique needs of each rider, Sebastian doesn't have a 'one size fits all' approach for anyone. I love seeing how therapeutic riding at Sebastian improves the lives of not just the rider but the family, volunteers and staff as well.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sebastian was recommended to me after my daughter was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. From the tour to the evaluation to the first lesson, our experience has been awesome. Great with young kids and fully focused on meeting their individualized special needs. When special needs can isolate kiddos, Sebastian Instantly felt warm and welcoming and we are thrilled to have our child there for tberapy!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This incredible group has provided therapy for my daughter for the past few years and now my son when he was diagnosed with a muscle issue. They both love riding. The therapy and support provided to my entire family by the wonderful individuals and horses make this nonprofit one of the best. Not only has it provided physical therapy that has much improved both of my children's physical abilities , it has provided an emotional therapy like no other, the horses are so gentle. I honestly can't say enough about this place. The volunteers/staff work endlessly to provide the best for the students/families and the horses.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son has been taking riding lessons at Sebastian Riding Associates for a little over a year and he loves it. The staff has been so loving and accommodating to him. They are patient with him and move at his pace, never making him uncomfortable. Such a wonderful organization!