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Special Equestrians Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Equestrian, Health, Human Services, Rehabilitative Care, Sports

Mission: Special Equestrians,Inc. is a local nonprofit organization which provides therapeutic horseback riding classes and equine assisted activities to children and adults with disabilities. Through their participation in our program, our riders learn to ride a horse, and so much more. They improve coordination of the mind, hands and legs, gain a sense of freedom and awareness of their bodies, develop and enhance social skills, and boost their self esteem. All classes are taught by instructors who are certified through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH, Intl.)

Programs: Horseback riding therapy for physically & mentally handicapped individuals in southwest florida.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Dancing Grandma

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of Special Equestrians in 2008 after participating in the Ride A Thon. I was so impressed with the organization I volunteered to help raise money for the program. Since that time I have been actively involved in the Taste of Love event, our main fundraiser. Special Equestrians is an awesome organization and it is so rewarding to see how our volunteers and horses are able to help disabled children and adults.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Special Equestrians just keeps on giving to the riders in their program. We have recently expanded our program so that we could add more riders and just purchased more property to provide better pasture grazing for our wonderful horses. Our volunteers are the BEST!!! You have to see to believe. Come visit us.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Special Equestrians since 2008. During my very first visit to Special Equestrians (I remember it was just like yesterday) I instantly fell in love with the program. Everything about it: the riders, volunteers, and horses seemed to be unlike anything I had ever experienced. The riders are particularly inspirational. Even though we teach them how to ride horses, I think they are really teaching us how to be patient, kind, and compassionate. Even now five years later I am still grateful to our riders and to the entire program for teaching me and giving me more than I could ever imagine. Thank you Special Equestrians!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that benefits everyone touched by it! Having been a volunteer for
5 years, I quickly became in awe of the relationships,and successes, that develop between caring, well trained horse handlers and horse riders. Trust, advancement, {and fun} are wonderful qualities that everyone here gives and receives.


Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started to volunteer with this wonderful program last year. The benefits to the riders is evident each week. You can see the improvements in motor skills, social skills and all-around well being every time they come to the sessions. The instructors are so dedicated and truly excited for each improvement. They take special interest in each of the riders and delight in each new benchmark that is reached. They continue to encourage the riders to strive for more. They are truly remarkable. The volunteers are also a dedicated group who look forward to each session and the group is cohesive and helpful to each other. Truly an amazing experience each week. It is a tie between which is more rewarding, witnessing the improvements in the riders week over week or seeing their delight and hearing their laughter when they accomplish so much. I am a "side-walker" also and I thoroughly enjoy the interaction with the riders.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Special Equestrians has been fantastic for our daughter. We've seen her improve not only as a rider, but in her core strength and overall coordination. Of course, it is fun for her to ride and be around the horses as well. The staff and volunteers are great and seem to really enjoy the work they do with the kids.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have had 4 children served through Special Equestrians. Right now we have three. I cannot even begin to tell you how this organization has benefitted not only our individual child as a rider but our whole family. Our children have become more confident in all they strive to do as they become more confident on their horse. How does one really write a review on what Special Equestrians does when you see them take a 3 year old with no legs, put them on a horse and now 10 years later instill in them the reality that they can go on to the para olympics. In my mind Special Equestrians is a miracle in our families lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to Special Equestrians to be around horses and fell in love with the riders! So happy to be part of this wonderful organization by helping in SE’s mission of “ Making Miracles Happen”!! From the moment you turn into SE's driveway, you can feel the happiness and joy which permeates every part of this fantastic program!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Rarely do you find something so rewarding and fulfilling that you make it a part of your life. I have found that volunteering at Special Equestrians! I have been helping out there for over a year and a half and look forward to getting there to spend the time with the horses, the other wonderful volunteers and working with an outstanding staff and organization whose whole purpose is to bring an incredible proven therapy to people with disabilities. To see the improvements and happiness that the riders experience makes you leave there feeling like you just contributed to something truly amazing! S. Nielsen

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son volunteers,at Special Equestrian,and he loves it.The people, who work there are awesome and are very lovable with everybody.The way they are with the kids is amazing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a new volunteer to Special Equestrians. I am happy to say that this is a great organization. The people are so dedicated and appreciative. This is a special place with extra special horses and people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for eight years, hopefully going on eighty. I got involved in the program through a friend of mine who asked for help working with horses and people. I was hooked on the program from my very first session. The riders from all ages, are so excited when the horses are brought out, they know within a short period of time they would be ride. Some of the rides can't talk, can't walk very well but once they get on the horse the smile on their faces is something I will never forget. When it's Wednesday I need to be at SE or my week is not complete.

Mercedes4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is an awesome organizations, but makes them unique is their open door policy, must programs are geared at children with disabilities, they also work with adults. Once a child reaches adulthood its as if the rug is pulled underneath them. This program give adults such as my daughter an opportunity for socialization as well as a great therapeutic program to participate in. There are not enough programs of high quality for adults with a disability in this area, we value people and program that work with PWD.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am proud to say that recently I 'earned' a dedicated volunteer badge at Special Equestrians. Even though I am only a 'sidewalker' this badge is one of my most valued possessions because I have had an up close and personal view of what the program can do for it's participants. The unique relationship formed between horse and rider as the gentle , rhythmic motion of the horse develops the rider's fine and gross motor skills can only be described as watching a miracle take place right in front of you. Much of my summer time is spent in the Baltimore, Md. area. Because of that, I have had the opportunity to become aware of another 'Special Equestrian' program-namely the one run by the Caisson Platoon of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment(the Old Guard) . Using the same horses that perform the formal military honors at Arlington Cemetery, the soldiers of the Old Guard accomplish the same horse leader and sidewalker duties as we do here in Ft Myers for our riders, except they are doing it for the wonded warriors at nearby Ft Belvoir hospital. The co-founder of this unit summed up the rewards of the equine prgram best:"As long as we are helping one soldier, then it is all worth it." Trust me when I say that we are definitley helping our Ft. Myers riders in the same fashion, making one miracle at a time.

Janice22

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is an extremely valuable organization. I have been extremely impressed with how well they help those in need by involving them to interact with their horses. They are well managed and provide a service to the public that gives those in need a chance to believe in themselves and to open up to other adults and children.
I have been very impressed with how well they keep the barns, horses, etc. and take the opportunity to involve the public to come and visit, volunteer, interact and give of themselves. Donations are a big help to them, but also opportunities for grants, etc. would be a tremendous help to them too.
I believe this organization is a great benefit to our area in a very positive way.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Special Equestrians does so much for each and every rider that participates in the program. Children and adults show marked improvements in several areas including balance and coordination, muscle tone, and social skills. But they do so much more than just help the riders...they reach out to the community to educate and bring awareness of the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding, they support the local university, FGCU, and their riding program, and they offer amazing experiences for every volunteer that comes through the front gate. Being a volunteer for almost 3 years has literally changed my life. As an undergraduate volunteer from FGCU, I was not entirely sure of what I wanted to do with my future, but Special Equestrians had plans for me. My Saturdays spent working with the children and horses opened up the world of therapy to me, and made me look into career paths where I could continue helping with the aid of the equine friend. Some research and one very special internship with this non-profit led me to occupational therapy. I start a graduate program for OT in August this year, and I hope that in 2 years when I graduate I will be able to use my OT degree in conjunction with horses to provide hippotherapy for kids and adults alike, maybe even at Special Equestrians. So in the end, yes Special Equestrians does an incredible job inspiring their riders, but they also know how to inspire their volunteers, which makes this program one in a million.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization has helped my son. Riding the horse right after his lengthening surgery and Botox kept him less spastic. If we didn't have to move he'd still be attending. He loved to feel that he can ride and help control the horse to move. The volunteers are so helpful, polite, attentive, and everything great to say. Dee gave him an opportunity to grow. Love them and if I move that way again I will attend again.

Client Served

Rating: 4

In just five months of therapeutic riding my son has made gains in strength, balance, and coordination unparalleled in years of traditional physical therapy. Now he has something special he can talk about with classmates. He always looks forward to riding and doesn't even realize that it is "work".

Terra A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Such and AMAZING Organization that not only supports and gives back to the community but changes lives. They are constantly striving to give the kids more than just a riding program, but an experience that is unforgettable and beneficial. There are not enough nice things that I can say.

Cathy52

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been aware of Special Equestrians since my son who has Downs participated from the time he was three until 6; when he began t-ball and advanced to traveling with Special Olympics.

This organization gives these children a baseline of reality; a task that they can master; an animal that they feel close to; a sense of freedom for those who are in wheelchairs. No matter how small it seems to others...it is not small to those who feel it.

God Bless those who are affiliated with any part of Special Equestrians!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Charlotte D I have been amazed as a retired nurse practitioner to see the impact of Special Equesterians on all ages with disabilities. I watched as an autistic person who was flapping their hands on the ground, exhibit normal behavior with their hands holding the reins as they rode on horse back. Little 3 yr old who has such tight muscles, is improving riding with the instructor doing stretching exercises with his little arms and legs. It was amazing to watch a young teen with no legs who is in a mortorized wheelchair on the ground, take command in a special saddle leading the drill team like my daughters did on our horse. There is also much needed emotional support for caregivers by our volunteers. These are essential services for a multi- county population being reached. My husband and I look forward each week to spend a morning grooming and saddling horses and then being side walkers with ourstudent for their safety. The students are also taught many skills to coordinate eye muscle coordination. They also learn colors, shapes, how to spell their names on a magnetic board, and are given the opportunity to be out enjoying nature.