Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Victory Reins Therapeutic Riding Center

9,490 pageviews

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Health Support

Mission: To provide therapeutic recreational equine activities for children and adults with special needs to experience the bond that is created between horse and rider. Empowering them to be victorious in all areas of life and reach their fullest potential.

Results: Since inception in Oct 2007, we have grown from 5 students to 40 plus steady students in additon to hosting special needs groups for day trips to the farm. We educate them with hands on learning experience with all the animals on the farm in a safe and supervised environment. The benefits impact them physically, cognitively and psychologically. These aspects of the session awaken their awareness, increase coordination and attention span, along with giving them a CAN DO attitude to succeed in life. Providing volunteer opportunities for school groups, individuals and community service workers to enable them to give back to their communities.

Target demographics: Handicapped, disabled or special needs peopleVolunteers who want to assist people with disabilities in the South Chicagoland area and surrounding suburbs.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 40 plus special needs students with various disibilities like CP, MS, Autism, ADHD, Learning disibilities,Speech delays etc.and their families, plus groups from Elim , Cornerstone, St. Colletta's, The Lions Club, various preschools, Girl scouts, Brownie groups and youth groups.

Geographic areas served: Northern Il.

Programs: Riding sessions that takes therapy out of the clinical setting and puts it in a safe and fun environment. Horse/animal care education and hands on experience.

Community Stories

145 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been coming out to Victory Reins to volunteer on at least a weekly basis for almost three years and I can honestly say it has changed my life for the better. I'm very lucky to be able to say that I've grown up with horses but since I started coming out to the barn, it strengthened my love and need to help animals even more. Now I can proudly say I just graduated veterinary technician school. The people I have met here have become my second family and I cannot be more grateful for that.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was there last week with my class. They did an amazing job helping all my students with multiple disabilities. All of the students and staff had a wonderful time

Client Served

Rating: 5

My school goes here every year for horseback riding and they do an amazing job. They are very kind and patient with our students who have a variety of needs. All of our student love going on this field trip every year!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Physical Therapist working in a school with many children with many special needs. Victory Reins has done a wonderful job of welcoming our children in a safe and friendly environment. The staff was very good at accommodating our many diverse physical and sensory needs.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Victory Reins is a great place to be. The atmosphere is amazing and everyone is so kind and helpful. I just started volunteering about a month ago and I love it already. Mrs. Sandy is very helpful and if I have any questions she is always quick to respond and help me out in the barn or with the horses. I look forward to learning new things about the horses and even the therapeutic side of the horse industry.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter rides at Victory Reins and absolutely loves it!!!
She is always greeted with warm, friendly smiles, receives gentle, fun encouragement while riding and takes pride that she is part of this wonderful family called Victory Reins.

Sandy, Jim, the great staff and volunteers have a caring, compassionate, loving, kind heart. What a gift they are. They have richly blessed our daughter's life. They have taken time to learn about her and how to communicate with her. It certainly gives her confidence and makes her feel loved and able to do something that not everyone can do....... ride a horse!

The horses are kind, gentle, well-cared for and know that they have an awesome responsibility. They love it! It is really incredible to watch the student/horse relationship develop. They become friends..... loving, caring, trusting and hoping in each other.

Thank you Victory Reins for your hard work, your passion to serve and your love for all people!!! You rock!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Been bringing our multi needs grand daughter for therapudic horse riding for over 5 years to Victory Reins. She LOVES it. Thank you to Sandy and Jim and all the volunteers who guard her as she “rides”. Many beautiful improvements made since we started. Couldn’t be more pleased!!

Carolyn L.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter has been volunteering at Victory Reins for over 5 years now and absolutely loves it. And I as a parent love it there as well. What Jim and Sandy provide for their students is amazing and what the volunteers learn there is equally amazing. There is just so much compassion when you are at the stables. My daughter has learned so much working with the children that she now has an interest in pursuing Special Education in college - wanting to help children with disabilities. Victory Reins is a wonderful place!!!!!!!

MLynn

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love spending our time here! There’s so much for my son to do from the petting zoo area to riding the horses. Every person is extremely kind and makes us feel welcome! Thanks so much for everything you do!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough great things about Victory Reins! My time there takes me out of everyday and surrounds me with amazing people and caring animals. I have seen the changes and progress of the students over the years and the simplest task which may have been impossible at one point is now possible. It's hard not fall in love with the experiences that I have had here.

Jay F.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful opportunity for special needs children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been volunteering for Victory Reins for 10 plus years . I can not express what a blessing it has been to work along side and Sandy and Mr. Jim and to see the joy that their ministry brings to the children and their families .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer at Victory Reins and it is wonderful to see the experiences riders have here. It is a place where people connect with horses and relationships form. I love being there. I look forward to my time at Victory Reins every week!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Indian Oaks Academy, a residential treatment center for youth in Manteno, Illinois, has partnered with Victory Reins Therapeutic Riding Center since December, 2017. They focus on building selff-esteem, concentration, relaxation, etc. Sandy Michalewicz, founder and director of Victory Reins, commented on the progress that can be made from equine therapy, noting that “getting on a horse empowers kids…offers them a sense of freedom.” The youth at IOA not only learn to ride, but groom, turn out, clean stalls, feed, and even bathe the horses. Their equine therapy has served our youth well. We strongly recommend Victory Reins as an organization, and as a place of healing!

1 Jeannie K.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered at this great place and it is wonderful. There is so much love, kindness, and compassion. Their mission to help others thru experience in riding or even relating to animals is amazing. They are doing a fantastic work here.

1 MRossi

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Will has ASD and has been riding with Sandy and her amazing team of volunteers for several years now. Riding helps him focus and puts the reins in his hands and empowers him to make the choices. Our daughter, Faye was born with a chromosomal deletion. She began riding at VR when she was three. She was bascially non-veral. Within three months she was able to say "walk on" in order to get her horse to move forward. Riding also helped with her balance, core strength, hand-eye coordination, et.
This is an amazing non-for-profit organization. The people who run VR and volunteer are the most amazing people you will ever meet. They truly have a passion for the horses and the riders who come to participate. Truely an A++ experience, for the whole family, not just the rider.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are no words to convey how we feel about this amazing place. Our son Will has ASD, and has been riding with Ms. Sandy and her amazing volunteers for two years now. He works on listening, following directions, academics and extras such as sign language. He has now worked up to riding a horse on his own, with a volunteer coach who walks along side him. He has built his confidence immensely. We look forward to seeing Will ride in the Special Olympics again this fall.

Faye just turned 3 years old. She was born with a micro-deletion on her 6th chromosome. She has a lot of developmental delays, including gross motor and speech. Faye is currently working on using her vocabulary while riding and strengthening her core muscles. When we arrive at Victory Reins, Faye begins yelling and cheering in anticipation to riding a horse.

Sandy is such an amazing and special person with such a gift with working with children and horses. The entire atmosphere of this place breathes "amazing" as well as relaxing. It just gives you a chance to sit back, watch, relax and breathe.

We were fortunate enough this year to come out to the farm and work two weekends with the volunteers, in order to prepare for the upcoming spring season. It gave us such a sense of accomplishment, knowing that so many children and adults would be enjoying this wonderful place, in a matter of weeks. We are fortunate enough to have this wonderful extended family.

Read more
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love volunteering here! I have participated in numerous aspects....helping with feeding, organizing, cleaning, assisting with lessons and more! I have learned a lot . Sandy and Jim are very understanding and give great direction, as well as leaving you to your tasks. I would highly recommend anybody to come visit and volunteer!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been volunteering at Victory Reins for about 7 or 8 years. I have always love animals, especially horses. I also have a passion for helping people with special needs, so this place is right up my alley! I checked out helping with lessons and was hooked. I love the supportive, family atmosphere that is encouraged among both riders and volunteers. Wanting to learn more, I began helping with feeding and other barn chores, guided by the owner and more experienced volunteers. Going out to the barn on Sunday mornings has become my sanctuary. Spending time with the horses and other animals is very therapeutic for me as well. I have loved seeing the program growing over the years, seeing new and familiar faces every year. I hope to continue to be able to continue volunteering as long as I possibly can.

Annie Thiel C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son, Ben, has PDD-NOS, which falls under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Ben struggled with self-esteem and feeling of competency due to his developmental delays. Finding Victory Reins has been a God-send. Learning how to ride, and ride successfully, has made Ben proud of himself and has given him confidence in all areas of his life. Under the tutelage of Ms. Sandy and all her wonderful employees and volunteers, Ben has developed into an accomplished equestrian, and the medals and ribbons that he has won hang proudly in our home. Thanks are not nearly enough to express our love and gratitude for this wonderful program!

Deborah H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been riding at Victory Reins for 11 years. It has helped her immensely with her physical limitations as well as helping her to develop strong bonds with the volunteers and staff. She loves being a part of the Special Olympics and it has helped her self esteem.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Victory Reins creates a family environment. They have worked with my daughter Makayla for 10 years. She has become much stronger and showed many horsemanship skills that would not have been possible many years ago. When she got sick last year, Sandy and Jim called right away. We look forward to lessons every week.

Read more

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I volunteered at Victory Reins in the past. I agree that therapeutic riding can be a positive experience both mentally and physically, I was a little disappointed. The facilities are clean and the horses are fed however I feel that Sandy lacks in the skills department when it comes to the animals..... one of the horses was not feeling well, Sandy gave him a shot for his stomach problem and he ended up dying ( about 3 years ago). Is this woman also a veterinarian? She roughly yanks the reins if one of the horses is disbobeying in a rough mean fashion.... it really broke my heart to see a horse treated this way. She can be bossy and demanding. Some of the kids cry and really don't enjoy the experience.... Not all it's cracked up to be.... and one of the young female volunteers who has been there many years is a witch